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Debut: Phobia – Grindcore

Phobia are responsible for some of grind’s best album spines — the 100 percent accurate Grind Your Fucking Head In and 22 Random Acts of Violence being two favorites — so they’ve earned the right to cut to the chase with the title of their new speedy, seven-inch blast. Eight songs, nine minutes, no bullshit: Grindcore. Nailed it.

Of course, Phobia can lay as much claim to Grindcore as anyone in America. For nearly 25 years, vocalist Shane Mclachlan and company have taken a well-worn, classic concept and continued to revitalize it. The impressive part about that is Phobia aren’t experimenters. No, their grind is the same as it ever was: part punk, part metal, all pushed to the extreme.

So if Phobia don’t tinker, what makes them stand apart from the pack? Every year, the band seems to push their aggression up another notch, raising the bar for what a grinder can consider unrelenting. In fact, if you can believe it, Grindcore is even more unrelenting than, uh, Unrelenting. Hey, they mean what they say.

Refreshing bluntness aside, Phobia also have an ear for detail, excelling at the small things that help frame the bigger picture. The ruthless guitar attack of Dorian Rainwater (Diseased Reason, Noisear) slices like a supercut of samurai flicks on fast-forward. The riffs sizzle with acidity, melting crust and death metal down to their concisest equivalents. Drummer Bryan Fajardo (Gridlink, Kill the Client, Noisear, P.L.F.) constructs a sturdy skeleton, instrumental in getting these tiny feats of grind-ingeering standing. Fajardo is also more than a meter, given free rein to fill as he pleases, decorating tracks with thrillingly athletic rolls that somehow fit perfectly within the stop-start sections. Mclachlan, as always, bellows, screeches, and roars his way through socio-political lyrics that have an alligator-strength bite. He’s the voice you need, the shred of humanity that makes the inhuman speed/volume truly resonant as a real thing.

All in all? Grindcore. Now and hopefully forever. At least until Phobia’s next dispatch is on the way.

Phobia’s Grindcore will be released via Deep Six Records on September 9. It’s available for preorder now.

— Ian Chainey

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