1) Phantom Machine
2) Through The Graveyard
5) Does It Even Matter
7) Feel Like Death
8) Mad Scientist
9) Blood Countess
10) Old Man
Mixing traditional horrorpunk with death rock and other influences, The Fiendish Phantoms out of Wisconsin have just released their first self-titled LP, with 10 songs running the gamut of styles and putting their own spin on things. The four-piece band, consisting of The Nightstalker on vocals, Oliver “The Caretaker” Collins on guitar, Dr. Decon I. Bel on bass and rounded out by Beefy The Butcher on drums, sing of many traditional troupes of the genre, from serial killers to classic figures. Given the band’s description of their music, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going in, so where would The Fiendish Phantoms take us over the 10 songs included on this release?
One of the first things I noticed with this album was how, despite having many clichés of the genre to bounce off of, they still don’t sound like any of their contemporaries. The album has an almost sludge or doom-metal like feel at many points in the album, helping separate The Fiendish Phantoms from any other new releases we’ve seen in 2017. The opening track “Phantom Machine” helps set a precedent for what to expect, but the band switches things up throughout so that you never really know what is going to hit you next. “Through The Graveyard” begins with a very eerie opening, which could easily have allowed the band to swap it out as the opening track. It also has a psychobilly feel to it, ticking off another style that the band takes care of. The whole song feels both very laid back yet ominous, especially through the verses.
The band works through “Supernatural” and into their tribute to the legendary (at least in serial killer fan circles) Ed Gein with the appropriately titled “Ed.” As mentioned, the styles are all over the place, but the band seems to really find their perfect balance with “Stand.” Easily the first song to really stand head and shoulders above the rest, “Stand” was the first song that while listening I kind of sat up and realized not only the potential the band has, but the greatness contained within. Usually when I listen to an album, when I hit that song that clicks and makes me hit the repeat button a few times is when I start on my review and try to build around it. And while that song may not be for you, it’s the one that I will always implore new listeners to check out at the very least.
From that point on is when things really come together with the band continuing to mesh all their different influences and styles. “Feel Like Death” is another standout, following right on the heels of “Stand.” The one-two punch of “Mad Scientist” and “Blood Countess” absolutely slays leading into the finale of “Old Man” which takes all of the momentum the band has built up and wraps things up nicely.
The Fiendish Phantoms is admittedly not an album for everyone. Most horrorpunk tracks run anywhere from a minute and a half to three minutes, while not a single track on this album is under three minutes. Hell, the final two tracks both exceed the five-minute mark. But if you are looking for something a little different, and want to venture out and see some of the different things that a band can do within the confines of the genre, then The Fiendish Phantoms is a band you absolutely need to check out.
You can get a copy of The Fiendish Phantoms self-titled debut on CD from their Bandcamp page and head over to the band’s Official Facebook page and give them a Like to stay up to date on what these fiends come up with next!