Review: Phase Reverse – Phase IV Genocide

Phase Reverse are a rock/metal band with lots of Southern influences. After releasing 3 records between 2009 and 2015, the band went silent for a few years. Now they welcome back Tas Ioannidis, the band’s first singer and bass player, and will release their fourth full length Phase IV Genocide on December 11th. I am normally not too keen on picking up rock records for review, but after I saw their video for Delete, my interest was quite piqued.

The record opens with The Return, a 2 minute instrumental track that nicely leads into track 2, Destruction on Demand. With a runtime of 6:20, this is one of the two longer tracks on this record, but it perfectly works as an opening track, as it demonstrates the strengths of the album quite well: rich, creamy guitars, a present and gnarly bass, grooving drums and the perfect voice for this type of music, delivering catchy tunes. The guitar riffs and drum grooves are varied enough, and the clean, mellow interlude two thirds into the song fits neatly and adds some dynamic. Track 3, Genocide starts with a folky/country-ish acoustic intro, then alternates between very Southern rock/metal groovy riffs and the type of power-ballad chords that might remind you of Something Wicked This Way Comes-era Iced Earth ballads. This style fits Phase Reverse quite well. It sounds epic, the guitar melodies/solos are very tasteful, and the vocals are very catchy. Copy 10-4 after that completely changes pace and has a pretty standard rock-chorus mixed with some almost nu-metal style riffs. While the vocal lines are once again catchy enough, and the riffs themselves are good, the song itself feels a bit aimless and thrown together. Moving on. Track 5, Know Thy Shit, is another song leaning towards power-ballad territory. While overall maybe not as strong as Genocide, I really, really dig the chorus here – “The only truth is that no one cares, and your point of view, nobody sees.” The delivery of those simple lines really fits.

The second half of the record starts with Die and Let Live. A groovy rock track on the slower side that is entertaining enough but certainly no game changer. Once again though, a strong chorus. With track 7, Delete, we finally get that energetic spark a la Five Horse Johnson or Clutch that I was looking forward to. The mix of fast riffing and dirty country/blues licks really gets you pumped, and the chorus is designed to chanted by a moshing crowd. This song consistently had me bang my head whenever it came on. A perfect choice for a single release! Eat What You’re Served continues the energetic rock riffs with hints of blues, and is overall a fun track. Sound of My Stone slows it down towards ballad-y territory again, but is a solid and heartfelt track, which is sadly followed up by Martyr of the Phase, which tries too hard to be an epic album closer, but ends up being a bit of a meandering mess with too much reverb thrown on everything. The length of 6:56 certainly does not help that song, although some of the guitarwork here is pretty sweet.

This is a hard record to review for me, which is why I went through it song by song. I really, really like their sound! And while I do not know any of Phase Reverse’s previous records and therefore cannot compare him to his predecessor, Tas Ioannidis definitely has a great voice that is tailor made for this style of music. I fell in love with his voice and the sound of the band almost instantly. There are also some great tracks on here, most notably for me Delete, Genocide, Destruction on Demand and Know Thy Shit. While the other songs mostly only reach “mediocre but with good ideas”, they also always have some catchy tunes in them. If I could make a wish to Phase Reverse, it would be this: have a few more songs where you have fun with mixing rock/metal with country/blues, like on Delete. The album just needed a bit more energy like that.

But while this is a mixed review from my side, I can say this: if you like Southern style rock/metal with hints of blues, and like your riffs groovy and on the slower side, you can’t really go wrong with Phase IV Genocide. I for one will certainly keep my eyes on this band, and a few of their songs will definitely land in my roadtrip playlist.

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