Got a quick email about the debut two-song EP from Portland, OR's Phantom Hymn the other day. With no real clue of what to expect, I was impressed straight away by the material's total adoration for the His Hero is Gone/Tragedy style of dark, metallic crusty hardcore/punk with an epic sense of layered melody. I'm also picking up some similarities to Skitsystem and To What End?, which certainly matters in my world as another high compliment, even if they're all sort of building from the same general foundation, you know?
Opener "Crucifixion Awaits" provides a faster-paced and more in your face attack that perfectly demonstrates the band's knack for flawless songwriting through relentless energy and a balance of simplistic D-beat roots with technical intricacies. "The Other Side of Paradise" then offers a slower and more spacious approach that I suppose would amount to the crust punk equivalent of "atmospheric," and does a great job of allowing the basslines to run the show.
All the more remarkable is the fact that this is apparently a one-person project, too. I'd never have guessed. The production is excellently balanced and forceful, the vocals are strong, not a single gap in the quality of musicianship, etc.
From what I understand, Phantom Hymn is already making progress on a full-length LP, and I'll damn sure be looking forward to hearing that. These two tracks are just fantastic!
- Bandcamp (mp3)