Northern Cali’s grindcore mainstays, Phobia, offer up another barrage of filthy blast-induced tracks with this latest recorded effort, Remnants of Filth, hitting streets tomorrow (June 5th,2012) via Williowtip Records. Let’s just get this out of the way now- The members of Phobia offer up their patented blend of blast-beats, choppy grind riffs, guttural vocal attacks, and hilarious movie samples, all wrapped in tight punk structures that will surely appease those that have been following the band throughout its 20-plus year history.
Now that you know the band has not made any ludicrous decisions to start implanting pop or trendy ambiance into the mix, let’s dive into what makes Remnants of Filth different from prior Phobia works.
Since the release of Phobia’s last solo effort, Unrelenting EP, which hit streets at the tail end of 2010 via Relapse Records, the band has gone from a 4-piece to 5-piece outfit. Vocalist Shane “The Pain” McLachlan , bassist Calum MacKenzie, and drummer Bryan Fajardo hold up the old garde. New to the mix, are guitarists Dorian Rainwater (who also performs next to Fajardo in New Mexico’s favorite grinding sons, Noisear) and second guitarist CC Loessin. Renowned engineer, Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed) was called in to produce and mix this beast of a record. It should be noted that while this is the first solo release to feature some new blood, both Rainwater and Hull also worked with Phobia on the 2011 Split 7″ release by Phobia / Abaddon Incarnate, which flew under the radar of many music outlets, but definitely deserves a spin for any fans of the genre. Another lesser known fact, is that Rainwater also stopped by the studio during the recording process Unrelenting to help McLachlan “perfect” the song structures.
The opening tracks on Remnants of Filth, “Assertion to Demean” and “Contradiction”, bring the thunder we’ve come to expect from Phobia. As the album progresses, the influence of Rainwater becomes more apparent, and none more so than on “Dementia Having Overdose,” where the choppy, discordant riffing immediately brings to mind that classic Noisear guitar flavor, with Fajardo just pummeling the drums with a steady onslaught of blasts and down-beat accentuations. Brought together by the multi-layered guitars courtesy off Loessin, with an underbelly of meaty bass lines, and McLachlan ‘s unrelenting guttural attack, this is a fresh spin on a familiar sound.
Remnants of Filth is far from one-dimensional and takes a definite shift in gears for the final four songs on this eighteen-track ripper. “Filthy Fucking Punks” offers some of the heaviest d-beat-laden, down-tuned punk, you’ll find west of the Mississippi. Simply crushing. Anthemic vocals compliment this beast of track that smashes forward like freight train cruising through a nitroglycerin plant. Here, the sound all but abondons the speedy grind pace that prevails on much of the record. The closing three tracks, “Constrain Relations,” “Resuscitate,” and “Inaction,” offer the perfect closing elements that blend a hearty mix of d-beats, grind, driving double bass work, and even melodic overtures to punctuate what will surely be definite contender for top grind release of 2012.
Phobia still bring forth a grind you can trust in. Two thumbs up.
Review by Joshua T. Cohen
Phobia – “Contradiction” taken from Remnants of Filth on Willowtip Records
[youtube width=”420″ height=”315″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Juhk8VBeaEI[/youtube]