Somewhere back in early 2015, I first started digging deeper into bands that aren’t what you’d call “well known.” Fast forward to 2018, and it’s something that happens on a weekly basis. That said, let’s look at one of the first underground bands that I ever truly loved. Canadian metallers Phantom’s debut album Of Gods And Men is truly something worth talking about. Phantom are a heavy metal band that utilizes the newer wave of throwback-type traditional metal with clear hints of NWOBHM influence and some speed metal.
What really tickled my fancy back when I discovered this was just how melodic it was, and the fact that they did such a good job with utilizing old tactics with such clean production. Seeing how common this is now, it’s even more impressive to me, as I believe Phantom are a brand of their own that stands out. Song construction is tighter than ever, combining speedy riffs that don’t bludgeon too hard with concise rhythms and clean singing. “Blood & Iron” is easily the best track, and what helps this one even more is how much the bass plays a role, almost leading the song on its own. The cymbals during the chorus of this are also superb.
Instrumental tracks that get stuck in your head take a special kind of talent, and Phantom does just that with “The King’s Road,” using dual guitars to create a very harmonic sounding riff pattern. You can almost find emotion in the whines of the guitars, first half being more monstrous, the second half sounding more dreary (in a good, artistic way). Like with the other tracks, the bass boosts this as well. Harmonics are also perfected vocally, such as in “Devil In Me.” The buildup to the chorus and the way it follows through on this is absolutely beautiful. The ability to create suspense and bust into epic heavy madness is present, most notably on “Trinity” fading into the title track.
One of the biggest things that I appreciate about Of Gods And Men is the fact that it bounces all over the place in regards to musical build, but stays consistent stylistically so you shan’t get bored. If it isn’t somehow clear by now, this is a record to listen to for the bass alone, because I can think of very few albums where it plays such a significant role. Many metal records do great things with it, but this one is a game changer. As if the advanced songwriting, execution, and vocals weren’t cool enough as is, I highly recommend this to anybody who digs classic metal with emotion. Fans of Angel Witch, Iron Maiden, or Savatage should seek this out immediately.
Of Gods And Men was released independently on December 6th, 2014 and can be found by contacting the band through Facebook or Email, and it can be streamed in full on Youtube.