Review Summary: The Blessing and the Curse.
In their own way, Phinehas do put a fresh spin on melodic metalcore. It’s remarkable how invigorated a modern metalcore album can sound just by adding a whole hell of a lot of shredding to the mix. At surface level, the band doesn’t seem to be doing much different. By ducking outside more modern trends (synths, breakdown abuse, etc.) and shooting for older ones Phinehas come off as trying something new. Sure, comparisons to August Burns Red are warranted between the hefty technicality and Christian subject matter, but Phinehas took it a step further at their inception and ended up with something all the more entertaining as a result. Their debut and sophomore records delivered a near-equal collection of well-written and exciting metalcore tracks, and by rights Till The End
should’ve been the third strike on their way to success. What it did end up being was a bit less than expected, a near identical offering to its predecessors and lacking a good bit of the freshness those records held that made them work.
The problem at heart is that there’s nothing new here on display. The core of the album is full of vicious metallic riffs and flurries of melodic shredding, strong songwriting and fairly fleshed out ideas. However, after two whole albums of this, we’re left aching for a just a bit more. “White Livered” and “Truth Be Told” strike the right chords, just old ones. It doesn’t help that four tracks are nothing more than meandering interludes that do little to nothing for the album’s flow. “Seven” is a nice change of pace at least, with softer tones and a longer runtime, but “The Blessing And The Curse” hinted at this a bit on the last record, and the acoustic tracks from “The Bridge Between” EP exhibited the band’s softer side already. The band’s playing is wholly intact however, which is what keeps the album in working condition. Every full length track is entertaining and full of energy. There is a notable absence of great hooks in many of the choruses, the likes of which carries past hits like “Blood On My Knuckles” and “A Pattern In Pain”. Phinehas wasn’t that reliant on big chorus hooks in the first place though, so it’s not as much of a blow as it could’ve been.
Till The End
mostly turns out to be a great retread. While it’s full of Phinehas’ best characteristics it does betray a bit of stale flavoring. Hopefully, it’ll be the hint that pushes the band towards trying something new with their sound. As it is, the album is still a great blend of modern and old school melodic metalcore that we’re not disappointed to see in 2015.