Utter and complete reinvention isn’t the only way to destroy boundaries. Oftentimes, the
most invigorating renewal in any particular community comes not from a generation’s desperate search for some sort of unrealized frontier, but from a reverence for the strength of its foundation. The steadfast metal fury of PHINEHAS is focused, deliberate, and unashamed. Across three albums and two EPs, the Southern California quartet has
proven to be both herald of the genre’s future and keeper of its glorious past.
The New Wave Of American Metal defined by the likes of As I Lay Dying, Shadows Fall,
Unearth, All That Remains, Bleeding Through, and likeminded bands on the Ozzfest
stage and on the covers of heavy metal publications has found a new heir in PHINEHAS. Even as the NWOAM owed a sizeable debt to Europe’s At The Gates and In Flames and North America’s Integrity and Coalesce, PHINEHAS grab the torch from
the generation just before them. The four men of mayhem find themselves increasingly celebrated by fans, critics, and contemporaries, due to their pulse-pounding brutality.
Make no mistake: PHINEHAS is not a simple throwback. PHINEHAS is a distillation of
everything that has made the genre great since bands first discovered the brilliant results
of combining heavy metal’s technical skill with hardcore punk’s impassioned fury.
SEAN MCCULLOCH has poured his heart out through his throat with decisive power, honest reflections on faith and doubt, and down-to-earth charm since 2007.
Drummer/backing vocalist LEE HUMERIAN has powered the band with momentous thunder since the following year. Bassist BRYCE KELLY and guitarist DANIEL GAILEYcame later, forging a foursome in the spirit of the sledgehammer-like delivery of Pantera.
The band’s modern interpretation of a now classic but criminally underrepresented sound achieves new creative heights with Till the End. The group’s third album is theirfirst for Artery Recordings, home to scene kingpins Attila and Chelsea Grin. The mid-2000s style stomp of “My Horses Are Many” (watched by over half a million people on
YouTube) and “I Am the Lion” from thegodmachine (2011) melted seamlessly into the molten lava-like Southern metal groove of “Blood On My Knuckles” from The Last Word is Yours to Speak (2013). A hint of that Lamb Of God-type flavor persists on Till the End (particularly in “Coup de Grâce”), but PHINEHAS is now even more ambitious than ever.
The searing sing/scream combo akin to their buddies in Haste The Day collides with a bigger-than-before shred-tastic technicality from Gailey, who brings his considerable chops as a former guitarist for Becoming The Archetype into the established PHINEHAS stew with stunning results. Matching the monster riffs and brutalizing drumming pound
for pound in passion, McCulloch doesn’t mince words when attacking the polarizing
hypocrisy of many American Evangelicals. “How can you love a God you cannot see / when you hate your fellow man standing in front of me?” he bellows in “Dead Choir,” one of the album’s most aggressive but melodic tracks. “You’re a liar and a fake,” he declares, before reminding fellow believers: “Without Grace we would all be dead.”
Elsewhere on the album, PHINEHAS mine the esoteric intelligence of Thrice, while
maintaining a consistently heavy, catchy, and often wonderfully complex density.
Standouts include “Tetelestai” (“It is Finished” in Greek) and crowd favorite “White Livered,” which features guest guitar work from Dominic Dickinson of Affiance. An acoustic intro gives way to guitar sweeps and brutal but hopeful vocals in “Till the End,” which closes the album with a repeated refrain of, “Live free or die / Till the end.”
A commitment to personal, professional, and musical excellence; an urgent calling to share hope, faith, and unconditional love with the masses; a relentless hunger to
connect with diverse groups of people all around through their music and their message
– these are the things driving PHINEHAS. Whether on tour with bands like For Today, Close To Home, War Of Ages, and Sleeping Giant; at events like New England Metal & Hardcore Festival and South By So What; or on a showcase with Beartooth, PHINEHAS will share their catharsis with the broken, the searching, and the hurting, Till the End.