Released: 2010, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
American crust-core pioneers Phobia have returned with a new EP of material, UNRELENTING. And it’s exactly what the title implies, unrelenting – 17 songs, 14 minutes, you get the idea. Phobia’s been around for the better part of two decades, and Phobia is as Phobia does – quick blasts of grind that hit you like repeated I.E.D. explosions that quit almost as quickly as it begins.
If you’re unfamiliar with Phobia’s brand of Discharge-inspired grind, think Napalm Death’s SCUM with better production and you’re just about there. Phobia’s delivery is less of the metallicized-grind that’s generally recognized today and more of the punk infused origins of the genre. If you’re cool with that (and you should be), you’ll dig what UNRELENTING has to offer.
The 17 tracks fly by, with some tracks clocking in under the 10-second mark, so it’s hard for any of the tunes to really sink in without repeated listens. That being said, songs like “Rehashed,” “Dying for Who?” “Strive Connection” and “If You Used to Be Punk, Then You Never Were” showcase the band at its best.
Phobia’s approach is expectedly no-frills and stripped down – no solos, no fancies, just thick guitars and vocalist Shane Mclachlan’s mouthy bark (dude sounds like he’s spitting out chunks of meat). UNRELENTING is quick fun, but that’s about it. Grind aficionados will find plenty to like with Phobia’s latest offering, but many casual listeners may wonder what all the fuss is about. UNRELENTING is available now through Relapse Records.