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PHOBIA - Cruel


So Cal’s own grind kings, PHOBIA, have been delivering fast and furious audio beatdowns for nearly two decades now and the band shows no sign of slowing down with their latest onslaught, Cruel. From the blistering opening title cut, to the ominous strains of album closer, “Numb,” the band takes no prisoners and wastes no time, managing to cram in over twenty tracks under twenty-seven minutes. Despite being plagued with even more lineup changes with long-time member Bruce Reeves departing as well the loss of their umpteenth drummer, Cruel benefits nicely from Scott Hull’s contributions in the production department. Former UPHILL BATTLE/current INTRONAUT skin basher Danny Walker also drives the album with a seemingly endless barrage of precision blast beats intensifying the band’s already ruthless delivery, resulting in the band’s most invigorating output since the classic Return to Desolation album. Cruel is an impressive return to form from with no bullshit trends, masturbatory shred fests, or filler (there’s simply no time for filler) just honest to goodness skull-smashing grindcore from the leaders of Southern California crustgrind. (Willowtip Records)