PHOBIA – 22 Random Acts of Violence

Supposedly punk rock is dead, but apparently someone forgot to tell PHOBIA as the band continues its seemingly non-stop assault with the release of 22 Random Acts of Violence. Tempering the anarcho-crust punk fury with technical precision, PHOBIA‘s latest is dark and dirty, but as sharp as a surgeon’s razor. Having blastmaster Danny Walker (INTRONAUT, EXHUMED, UPHILL BATTLE) unleash blast after furious blast interspersed with flurries of fills couldn’t hurt, nor does the inclusion of former IMPALED/INTRONAUT alum Leon Del Muerte, who delivers both bass and guitar solos. Capturing the mayhem is former PHOBIA drummer John Haddad, with mixing and mastering from PIG DESTROYER‘s Scott Hull. As most bands heading into their twentieth year tend to slow down or soften up, riffmaster Steve Burda and frontman Shane McLachlan only seem to be writing faster riffs and angrier vocal lines. At just under a half hour, PHOBIA doesn’t waste time with pedestrian bullshit, choosing instead to keep the beatings coming at a relentless, breakneck pace. A testament to the band’s longevity and perseverance, 22 Random Acts of Violence serves as yet another triumph for California’s kings of crust grind. (Willow Tip Records)

INTRONAUT: Into the Void

Rising out of the ashes of progressive doom merchants, ANUBIS RISING, and tech grind anarchists, UPHILL BATTLE, Southern California’s INTRONAUT have quickly made their mark on the underground scene with their unique mixture of molten heaviness, odd-time signatures, and complex atmospheric passages. APESHIT caught up with lead singer/guitarist Sacha Dunable following the group’s second performance in support of MISERY INDEX. Sacha dropped some science on everything from the group’s new album, Canadian border patrol, and what “Teledildonics” is all about.

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INTRONAUT‘s debut EP, Null, made an impression on the underground scene with some of the most refreshing music to come out of the L.A. scene in years. Now only a year later, INTRONAUT is making good on the potential promised with Null with their first full-length album, Void. Although the band boasts some of death grind’s finest talent, INTRONAUT is a completely different animal. Vocalists/guitarists Sacha Dunable and Leon Del Muerte both alternate between high and low snarling death metal vocals throughout the album, but that’s where the similarities between their previous bands and INTRONAUT end. Musically, the band delivers involved, complex, intricate instrumental journeys with a strong attention to detail, resulting in some powerful, epic songwriting. “Faultlines” and “Nostalgic Echo” are both prime examples as the band weaves in almost sleepy, dream-like passages before building to powerful, sustained peaks. The oddly titled “Teledildonics” on the other hand, sees the band shifting in and out of syncopated rhythms effortlessly with a strong progressive edge, with a section that even explores fusion jazz. But that’s not to say Void is a masturbatory shred fest. On the contrary, the band’s firm grasp on groove keeps things flowing smoothly so as not to dissipate into a sloppy mess, which may be the key to the band’s success with such inventive material. Void is a complex, impressive album from a creative, ambitious force of musicians that reveals new and interesting surprises with each new listen. Easily one of the most engaging and original albums of the year. (Goodfellow Records)