Released: 2011, Throat Ruiner
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
What happens when you combine blackened math metal with traditional café style French jazz, and then shotgun a fistful of amphetamines? You get NEW THING, the debut album from THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE. A quintet from the Poitiers area of France, THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE combines unlikely influences for a uniquely caustic final product that will probably leave even the most open minded noise junkies scratching their heads, but totally in a good way.
Superficially, the band sounds like any number of avante-garde screamo outfits, and I was actually pretty quick to dismiss NEW THING after a first pass. But if you can get past that, you’ll hear that there’s actually some cool stuff happening underneath. The band applies lots of atonal and discordant phrasing to traditional black metal riffs, chops it up into wacko time signatures and spazzes into a musical seizure. It’s off putting at first, but damned interesting if you stick with it.
NEW THING sounds like it’s got two distinct sides to the album; the first three tracks are more straightforward (well, as straightforward as you can get in this context), while the remainder of the album is more loose and experimental. “The Horses Feed Their Birds” has got Dillinger Escape Plan written all over it, while “The Wreck of My Mental Ship” has some Voivod-esque melodies and “The Monument on Hendrick’s Hill” is a reserved dirge. “Black Rain Falls in Drops” is where the album shifts. My favorite of the seven tracks on NEW THING, it’s a jazz tune complete with clarinets and a swinging back beat blended with the raucous noise of the previous three tracks. “Les Fantomes se Cachent Pour Pleurer” is a traditionally French instrumental, carried by a sinister accordion and violin combo – blatantly un-metal but totally heavy nonetheless. “Our Roses” is a brief, hostile bridge to “16-04-10,” which revisits the jazzy noise combinations.
So at this point you might be thinking, “dude – I only listen to real metal man, y’know, stuff that’s got like Vikings and wizards on the album cover.” To which my retort would be that NEW THING is available as a free digital download via The Phantom Carriage’s and Throatruiner’s websites, and you’ve got nothing to lose by checking it out. Sure, you can shell out a few bucks for a physical CD, but you can’t go wrong with free guys. NEW THING is bizarre, it’s uncomfortable, it’s divisive, but it’s also really different – which is a rare quality in extreme music these days. Check out The Phantom Carriage’s Myspace site for more details.