Originally written by Ryan Plunkett
Through 10 years of perseverance, Phobia arrives with their latest effort, entitled Serenity Through Pain. Taking influence from hardcore punk and early grind, they create their own blend of crust-fueled grindcore. The punk and grindcore influences radiate from this album profusely with everything from the drums to the guitars to the conviction found in lead vocalist Shane McLachlan’s voice.
Being a loose fan of all the above genres, I can walk away and say I enjoyed this album, for the most part, except for one thing that hindered my listening experience that I will mention in a bit. As I said above, the music is very punk and grindcore sounding. The drums feel close to the grindcore side, with the blast beats and double-kicks. On the other hand, the guitar feels more like the hardcore punk side of things. Shane McLachlan’s hardcore vokills are done quite nicely, portraying the feel of the music, except I don’t really like the higher pitched side of them. One last thing to mention is that this album includes some cool and funny samples before quite a few of the songs.
This brings me to the production. This is what ruined my experience with the album. The less than stellar production had the guitar sounding like one big wall of distorted fuzz and the drums maintaining the “beating on the tin can” feel. I know these types of bands don’t feel good production is necessary, for the most part, which doesn’t bother me, but when it dampens the power of the album, it’s inexcusable. That seemed to be the only thing that I didn’t enjoy about the album, because I thought the music and lyrics were pretty decent.
My suggestion to you: if you really dig this type of music, I would recommend picking it up or at least checking it out. If you give this type of music a spot in your CD player every now and again, like I do, then I’d say this one isn’t really worth the average $15 CD price tag.