Phoenix Mourning

When Excuses Become Antiques

Written by: PP on 30/04/2006 06:38:10

"Blood tastes like WATER" - opening line of "The Ornament", placed in the middle of Phoenix Mourning's debut album "When Excuses Become Antiques".

Metal Blade usually boasts of metal and hardcore bands and their subgenres, which is why it is strange to find a band like Phoenix Mourning signed to the label. Their debut album falls directly into the screamo genre, and attempts to re-invent the wheel for the scene. Vocals screamed from the throat? Check. Clean-singing parts to contrast the screaming? Check. Occasional breakdown or two? Check. Catchy hooks? Check.

All the ingredients for a generic album for the oversaturated genre are there, but fortunately Phoenix Mourning is able to go past the easy-to-create, somewhat simple form of musicianship many bands boast of in the genre. The lead guitar hooks are technically proficient and the clean singing is used sparingly enough not to bother the overall flow of the album, which has a rather Zao-esque atmosphere to it. Especially "When The Sky Falls" brings into mind Zao's "The Rising End (The First Prophecy)" with its apocalyptic atmosphere created by the effective alternation of clean singing and screaming. Their vocalist Jeremiah even brings in an attempt of growling half-way through the song, but abandons it quickly in favor of his much more in-your-face, powerful screaming.

The one thing to notice straight away on the album is how the guitar hooks run smoothly on the background while still keeping you subconsciously aware of them, and the clean singing is constantly being overriden by the screamed out vocals, but yet the production of the album is so good that you can hear both styles clearly at the same time. There are some catchy tunes on this album, with "Contrast", "Across Twenty-Six Winters" and "One January Morning" standing out as the winners after the king of the hill competition between the tracks. It's not that these tracks are more technical, or vary much from the rest of the album, but they're just damn good and catchy songs, of which every band should be proud of. Considering that it's only their debut album, great things are to come for this band if their source of inspiration doesn't dry up.

They certainly can't brag about being particularly original, but at no point during the album does the thought that the band may borrowing from other bands come into mind. They have created a surprisingly distinct sound with the strong guitar hooks and the out-of-throat screaming style combination, which is why they're much more worth than the stereotypical screamo-band.


Download: Across Twenty-Six Winters, One January Morning
For the fans of: Zao, UnderOATH
Listen: Myspace, Purevolume

Release date 24.04.2006
Metal Blade
Provided by Target ApS

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