Something strange happened to the Pope on the way to . . . well, wherever the hell it was he was going. Really not sure if this story is as strange as Pope typing in third person, but work with me here . . . it’s been awhile since I’ve written about a piece of music.
So, here it is . . . a metal band out of Finland that’s combining the death ‘n’ roll, grooved out fuzz of a band like Transport League mixed with the detuned and distorted tones of Bloodbath, but playing it with a hardcore punk attitude. It’s blackened metal, but not black metal. It’s deathly metal, but not death metal. It’s kinda’ sludge-y, kinda doom-y, but much more up tempo and violent. Extreme metal, for sure. And, quite possibly the most interesting blend of metal that I’ve heard in a long, long time.
A Phantom Pack of Black Hounds (yeah, it’s a mouthful) have no official physical release, but they have a bandcamp page that y’all can go to and support the boys. Four songs are available for name-your-price download, so do them a solid and give ‘em a buck or two when you download the material . . . they’re working to get an official album out and need all the help that they can get. I’ve already requested the release be on vinyl. Hey . . . I have my needs!
Anyway, to the music . . . as I mentioned, there are four songs available, all of which are awesome! “Give It A Push” has that Sarke meets Transport League meets Bloodbath grooving onslaught going on. I love the way these guys change tempos and add interesting guitar licks in the middle of the chaos. A little gang vocals add to the intensity of this tune, and the lead vocals actually make my swollen tonsils feel good . . . I mean, that’s some blood curdling shit! And the guitar solo! Holy style and class, Batman! The whole band works in perfect unison on this one . . . keeping things generally simple, but adding incredible points of interest to give a three and a half minute song monster dynamics.
All four songs on the bandcamp page have the aforementioned vibe going on . . . in every track, there’s something unique and ear catching going on. “Living Token” has a brief Slayer-esque moment before the guitars soar to the heavens and the vocals take on a volatile hardcore slant. Speaking of vocals . . . this dude can belt it out like a veteran. To the point, the vocals start taking on a life of their own, becoming part of the sonic background while the instruments are cutting ears to shreds.
“Flesh Revolt” is a headbanging, horn waving festival of debauchery. Great musicianship, fucking awesome guitar licks and breakdowns . . . possibly my favorite tune so far, this tune is one of the more dynamic tracks. Bile spitting vocals, chugging guitar riffs, roiling and toiling rhythms, “Flesh Revolt” blows my mind. Watch out as we get towards the end of the tune and the boys drop from 5th gear to 2nd, sludging and trudging our way through a land of devastation. Love it!
Finally, “Drewerstone” is a senses shattering, haunting creeper of a tune that’s no less rocking than the rest of the representatives of this download. Gothic-like in its darkness, a little reminiscent of Enslaved’s Isa before it explodes into a furious fight between two rabid wolverines. Chunks of fur and flesh flying through the air amidst a spray of crimson . . . fuck it . . . A Phantom Pack of Black Hounds. These guys are awesome and I’m hoping some of these great underground labels take a chance on ‘em. As I mentioned, I’m in on the vinyl release!