After 4 years and the drummer's replacement, the Portuguese heavyweights of Rock/Metal are back with their debut full-length, skilfully recorded at the small, yet professional Urban Insect studios in Lisbon, where other big names of the local scene have already recorded (Bizarra Locomotiva, F.E.V.E.R., Gwydion, Linda Martini, Moonspell among others).
You can immediately realize there's a label behind this time, as nothing is left to chance; the abstract artwork has strong impact and all of the lyrics are each written with a different model.
The sounds are powerful and more modern than on their previous EP and the arrangements were created to take no prisoners on stage.
Another important aspect resides in the axe solos, all of them cool and meaningful, with every second planned to be filled with the proper note and nuance.
As for the 11 songs, "Serious Killer", inspired by Charles Manson, whose voice can be heard during an interview excerpt, is the one containing the best written and most touching lyrics along with "The Unknown", dedicated to the unvoluntary homeless, the unlucky, the marginalized, and the forgotten in general who weren't able to establish an oasis of happiness from the remaining hostile world (quotation: "I try to fit in the world but the world doesn't fit in me"). I'm sure this perfectly arranged killer-riffing, crushing song will go over big with radio airplays and live shows, as well as the epic, energetic title track, showing traces of Mediterranean patterns.
"Black Suit Zombie"and you gonna dig what I'm saying precisely. No matter what I believe best, the band has chosen "Wake Me" as debut video (available here on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCPzNwM7Sfo.
The only flaw of the album is in songs like "Stay for Them" which add nothing new to the recipe and some might feel these tracks commonplace; my opinion is that further listens show interesting aspects contained in the rest of the song, and moreover the refrain is so agreeable that I forget the tiny initial feeling. Same can be said about "Fear Itself", displaying a juicy harmonica lines before a guitar solo and the end of the track.
I'm happy and proud I own Phazer's whole discography so far and hope to keep on doing that in future.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th January 2011