Now those whom know me I am not a big fan of metal-core and I really feel it’s an overcrowded genre, and if you are aiming to make a name for yourself you gonna need to really come with your guns loaded with some really special bullets in them. I’ll be honest I normally turn the page so to speak when it comes to metal-core. So here I am introducing an EP by a band called Phinehas, entitled, “The Bridge between us”; a mix of rearranged material from previous releases with a couple of new songs. An album of which dabbles with a mix between metal-core and technical metal.
The opening song, the revamped, “Panhammer” (originally released on The Phinehas EP – 2009) has some great guitar work, it put a smile on my face, and without sounding to critical, the vocals are alright , it just a preference thing I suppose. But overall it’s not a bad song, and trucks forward with loads of energy and sincerity. I have to admit they at least bring certain freshness to the genre that has slowly of late been a sinking ship. It’s a hard one to place actually, because they are fundamentally in my books a technical metal band, but they have huge metal-core overtones that will automatically slump them with many in the metal-core genre.
The new rendition of “Panhammer”, is a step up from the original score, and in a sense shows a growing maturity. Musically I totally appreciate their skill set, technically they have it down, and their songs show some amazing guitar skills, and their tight playing give these guys an edge over the others in this ‘type ‘of sound. There is some vocal diversity that needs to come into account here that helps overall drive the overall sound and energy beyond the mediocre, and I see a band that could stand apart from the crowd; and certainly if this EP is anything to go by, we could possibly see a metal-core band that grabs my attention, and not something I am going to just flip over briefly. From a future album perspective, the first three songs, ‘Panhammer’, ‘Well if the Earths are Stopped, Then the Fox Faces the Hound’ and ‘David and the Gate’ are the ones I initially truly focused on the most at first, and made for an outstanding combination of technical skill, stomach wrenching energy and foundational posturing of hopefully things to come.
‘Well if the Earths are Stopped, Then the Fox Faces the Hound’ has a marked improvement over it previous arrangement, again highlighting the transformation of the band, and certainly that transformation, as scribed by this EP is headed in the right direction. Its undeniable that their skill set is maturing and developing, and that in itself opens doors, and will hopefully see them step ahead of the crowd in the future. ‘David and the Gate’ – Is an original piece, and for me showcases what we can expect to hear from them in the future. On all aspects from technical prowess to the articulation of the vocals, all make this a winning song. Again, if this is shining light upon the direction they headed in, then the next release should hopefully capsulate something of the elements of this song, which in turn should make for a great album. Other than that the rest of the EP is made up of acoustic bites. I’ll be honest; I was wondering how they would translate their songs in to an acoustic rendition of their electric powered slam dunkers they deliver. I’ll start off by saying if this is where you start with the band you should be hooked, some amazing bits of musical heaven right here and wonderfully undertaken in keeping the driving energy sound in the mix on all four tracks. I actually prefer the acoustic numbers and my focus moved from the electric numbers quickly to the acoustic, and felt I could listen to this more often than the first set of electric storm chargers. Again the standard of skill is high throughout, and you cannot knock the fact that these guys have some great talent.
The only song I found in this set that did not really work for me was ‘Enkindler’ also a new song. It’s just rubbish, from the lyrics to the arrangements. This throws a little of a head scratch and an imbalance to my previous comments as it has me wondering are they able to deliver consistently, and if not then what really is the next album going to be like? I stand here hoping that this song was a small deviation from the truth, and that these guys are going to bring something great to the fore. Why?, because I came in thinking here we go again another metal-core band, and to be honest despite ‘Énkindler’ finished off glad having the opportunity to listen to this EP. Seriously enjoyed and felt like I could play this EP time and time again before it would wear thin on me. That is a huge leap for me who generally stays away from the likes of metal-core or the like, like it’s the plague. So as technical metal band / metal-core band goes, thumbs up indeed, at least they are offering a fresh fragrance to what has been a flogged dead horse in my books. I must say Overall Phinehas surprised me and by far exceeded any pre-conceived notions that I had coming in before listening to the EP.
I think overall this EP could keep fans and new fans being introduced to their sound occupied for some time and maybe enough, and will only add to making the full length more desirable and anticipated. But to really get a solid perspective of who they are, one should source through all their material, so go check out some of their other works before making your final decision on them. As for me, I reckon from this EP, we could see some good things come out of the Phinehas camp in the future.
Rating: 8 / 10
Written by Donovan de Necker
2. Well If The Earths Are Stopped, Then The Fox Faces The Hounds
3. David And The Gate
4. A Pattern In Pain (Acoustic)
6. Crowns (Acoustic)
7. The Wishing Well (Acoustic) feat. Ann Marie Flathers
Sean McCulloch – vocals
Jason Combs – guitar
Dusty Saunders – guitar
Ryan Estrada – bass
Lee Humerian – drums
Against the World (2003)
The Phinehas – EP (2009)
The Bridge Between EP (2013)
Record Label: Red Cord Records, Jan. 2013
Video below: Panhammer