Sometimes it is just plain refreshing to hear a bludgeoning, frills-free, insanely fast grindcore record. That is certainly the case, today. In a world overrun with whiny emo choruses and "I'm so sensitive" lyrics, O.C. grindcore stalwarts Phobia sound as cool as a dip in the pool on a swelteringly hot summer day. Insanely fast drumming, simplistic, sloppy, Scott Hull-esque riffing, really crusty vocals, and power-violence-like lyricism are the name of the game on said band's new album, 2012's appropriately-named "Remnants Of Filth."
Opening blast "Assertion To Demean" opens with some thunderous intro power chords, a walloping snare drum, and a creepy, sampled voice. After which the number launches into "rat-tat-tat" jackhammer-fast grindcore blasting. "Contradiction" rattles off more pummeling, machine gun, stop-start blasts, thus leading the album into "Submission Hold," which, after its usual blastfest intro, settles into a relatively slow and restrained tempo, with dense, stomach-churning power chords. And clocking in at only forty-seconds in length, "Plagued By The System" is a sneak-attack of freaky, unnervingly high-pitched shrieks and Phobia's usual abundance of blistering drumming. But if you think that song is short, then you clearly haven't heard "Got The Fear," because it clocks in at only twenty-nine ticks. Elsewhere, "Infraction Of Pride" and "Deaden To Believe" both boast catchy, hardcore chugging, hardcore punk breakdowns, and even -- what sounds like -- a little (but nonetheless noteworthy), squealing guitar solo! Both tracks also boast interesting beginnings, one with a filthy-sounding bass intro; the other with a punk-y-sounding introductory drum fill.
"Resolution," with its catchy and potently memorable call-and-response hardcore shouting of the track's title phrase, is another standout. And "Let It Go," which begins with a humorous opening sample before morphing into another disorienting maelstrom of blistering guitars and lightning-fast blast beats, is another. Others include the catchy, staccato/stop-start rhythm and frantic, rapid-fire drum fills of "No Sympathy For The Weak"; "Filthy Effing Punks," which is perhaps the album's most successful stab at a muscular, memorable groove (and also features a hardcore shout-along refrain); and "Resuscitate," which is backed by some of the album's most memorable riffs. (And what hefty, foundation-shaking, chugga-chugga riffs, they are, too!)
The bottom line? Phobia are absolute masters of crafting filth-caked, neck-spraining, crust punk-drenched grindcore records. And every one of their albums is a savage beating that one doesn't so much listen to as withstand. And "Remnants Of Filth" is, of course, no exception to this rule.