Phinehas
thegodmachine


4.5
superb

Review

by Mason Pearmain USER (50 Reviews)
November 24th, 2018 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It isn't often that bands hit a home run with their debut, but Phinehas did it.

The Christian music scene, polarizing as it may be, is still home to some musicians who just so happen to care just as much about their faith as they do their craft. It’s easy to poke fun at the usual suspects, whether they’re in the ranks of Michael W. Smith, Matty Mullins, or Skillet, but for every act that’s generally seen as a laughingstock of contemporary culture, there’s as many if not more that make use of their religious faith as a means to bring forward some of rock and metal’s finest work. In 2011, Phinehas joined the ranks of acts like Underoath, Norma Jean, and August Burns Red with their debut album Thegodmachine. Pooling their musical influences from the likes of As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage, they tread on the border between metalcore and straightforward metal; as one mentioned on another review, their influence doesn’t quite reflect that of Soilwork, nor that of Asking Alexandria. Phinehas’ debut is not of mere worship of their influences, which certainly works to its advantage. Thegodmachine is a work of art, driven by faith and guided by an immense sense of melody and technicality.

Because of the band’s Christian faith, it’s inevitable that religion would play a pivotal role in their writing, whether directly nor indirectly. “Bad Blood” is a condemnation of religious figures that are in it not for the betterment of humanity, but for themselves; “Grace Disguised by Darkness” is about the regret that one may feel over missing opportunities to become Christlike; “I Am the Lion” brings forward the idea that if we humble ourselves before God, then he will save us from addiction. Unlike some of their contemporaries, most of this album’s lyricism is written from the perspective of the God they worship rather than themselves, leading to a far less preachy experience overall than the likes of what’s more likely to be broadcast on your local Christian radio station. Instead of wallowing in their existential misery, Phinehas chooses to look to religion as a means to cope with life’s trials and tribulations; “A Pattern In Pain” is one such example of that. For all of us who are not religious, the message may be lost in the mix, as it’s unlikely for a quartet from California to be the arbiters of changing one’s mind on whether to accept the possibility of an omnipresent deity. Regardless, the imagery Phinehas instills with their approach to writing is sure to be interesting to observe from afar.

Luckily, for those who don’t find as much enjoyment out of analyzing lyrical themes as others, the music presented on Thegodmachine is easily some of the most proficient that metalcore has had to offer within the last decade or so. By taking cues from the melodic metalcore scene of the early to mid-2000s and infusing it with a heavier emphasis on technicality, they certainly have more to offer than some of their contemporaries, only outclassed by names like August Burns Red. “A Pattern In Pain” transitions from heavy, distorted riffage to a clean, atmospheric sound seamlessly, while “I Am the Lion” is almost as technically sound as it is crushingly melodic. As is commonplace in the metalcore genre, liberal usage of the breakdown is in full effect; however, in many cases, guitarists Dustin Saunders and Jason Combs counteract the chugging with melodies that would be sure to stump the average scenecore guitarist ala Ben Bruce. Despite their technicality, Phinehas never come close to being wankery; “Crowns” is especially proof of that, as most of that song’s writing is relegated to the guitarists’ higher registers from an instrumental perspective, yet it’s never overwhelming with its approach.

For a debut album, Thegodmachine could not have been much better. It isn’t often that bands hit a home run with their debut, but Phinehas certainly is an exception to the rule where that is concerned. They took their faith, wrote of it from a largely impersonal perspective so as to avoid the generic and easy-to-mock “you are my God” euphemisms that contemporary Christian music has a tendency to resort to, and combined it with virtuosic instrumentation from each musician; even the bass player is audible, seemingly a rarity in modern metal. The sheer scale of emotion displayed in the forty-nine minute runtime is nigh impossible to deny, as Phinehas obviously feel just as strongly about their Christ as they do their creativity. This is everything that a great metalcore record should be, presented all within a thirteen-song package that rewards repeated listens with a greater understanding of its depth.

TRACK RATINGS:
1) Thegodmachine: The Speaking Stone (4/5)
2) Bad Blood (4.5/5)
3) A Pattern in Pain (4.5/5)
4) I Am the Lion (5/5)
5) From One End of the Sky to the Other (4.5/5)
6) Legacy (4/5)
7) Crowns (5/5)
8) The Wishing Well (4/5)
9) My Horses Are Many (4.5/5)
10) Grace Disguised by Darkness (5/5)
11) Pendulum (5/5)
12) Thegodmachine: The Rider (5/5)
13) That I May Love You (4.5/5)
OVERALL ALBUM RATING: ~4.6/5



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user ratings (140)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't know what's more absurd; how amazing this album is for metalcore, or the fact that it took this long for a review to come out for it.

Digging: From Autumn To Ashes - The Fiction We Live

tyman128
November 24th 2018


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review man! pos

I need to spin this again, loved it when I first heard it, but it’s been years

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yo, for real this shit blew my mind on first listen. Highly recommend you spin it again.

tyman128
November 24th 2018


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

already have it downloading again

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hell yeah. m/ m/ m/

Also I may be more inactive on the site for a short period, I'm lucky to have this review out now.

tyman128
November 24th 2018


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh dang, what’s up Agent?

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not really in the mood to discuss it right now. Thanks for the concern though.

tyman128
November 24th 2018


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

alright, whatever it is, hope you get through it alright

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aye thank you tyman, means a lot to me.

Dewinged
November 24th 2018


14352 Comments


I won't let you leave until we have extinguished that reviews needed list. 98 to go ;)

Good write up dude. Hope everything's alright.

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Crucible

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Honestly, I don't have enough experience with most of the styles on that list. Lol

And thank you very much Dewi, was worried I wouldn't even get to post this lmao. I won't be completely gone, just not as active. Might end up staying that way as I finally get a life like I am supposed to.

Dewinged
November 24th 2018


14352 Comments


No worries. Your review pace was honestly pretty frenetic, nothing wrong in toning it down a bit and enjoying the fresh air outside ;P. The site is not going anywhere.

tyman128
November 24th 2018


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just don’t pull a DropTune where you post a bunch of reviews in quick succession and then drop off the face of the earth all of a sudden

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Dewi: yeah I have two more fully written but I might wait a little on them.

@tyman: oh do tell of this droptune guy lol

tyman128
November 24th 2018


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

he put up like 54 reviews in the span of about 5 months, and then he just stopped. He put up a review about a month ago and it was really short and not much to it, and then he was gone again. It was really weird haha

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

LOL. That's fuckin crazy.

tyman128
November 24th 2018


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea, and he was a pretty great reviewer, very consistent and at the top of his game... and then BOOM ... gone

artiswar
November 24th 2018


6454 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So many good songs on this but Crowns fucking SLAAAAAAAAAAYYSSSS. Impossible to listen to that outro without playing with my nipples.

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, almost like Snide in a way despite some questionable opinions.

Even I think half of his ratings are wack lmao.

AgentDeathbat
November 24th 2018


7409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@art: hence why that gets the hardest of 5's on my track ratings. God its too good.



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