Review: Phinehas - The Fire Itself

Erik Morgan
Erik Morgan   Follow

Band: Phinehas

Album: The Fire Itself

Genre: Metalcore

Record Label: Solid State Records

Release Date: August 27, 2021

Album length: 42 Minutes

Track List:

  1. ​ Eternally Apart
  2. ​ The Fire Itself
  3. ​ Thorns
  4. ​ War You Know
  5. ​ Defining Moments
  6. ​ Holy Coward
  7. ​ Dream Thief
  8. ​ The Storm in Me
  9. ​ Severed by Self Betrayal
  10. ​ In the Night

Phinehas is a band that needs no introduction in the Christian metal scene, but for those who don’t know, Phinehas consists of Sean McCulloch (Lead Vocals), Daniel Gailey (Guitars), Bryce Kelley (Bass), and Isaiah Perez (Drums). Phinehas originated in Los Angeles, California, and this is their fifth full length release.

Sound and Production: Phinehas has never sounded better. The production value on The Fire Itself is second to none. Everything comes through crystal clear, and nothing overwhelms the ears while listening. In usual Phinehas fashion, there is a big emphasis on guitars and solos, and there are plenty of their signature solos on this record. The drums are technical in some places, and stiff and almost in the style of hardcore/beatdown, in other places. The vocals of Sean have somehow gotten better, he sounds fantastic here, even though he has always been a skilled vocalist. Belting out his screams, and fluctuating in between styles of screams with such professional flare that it almost seems like he’s winking at the listener as he does it. Dan Gailey also sounds darn near perfect here, with his infectious riffs and face melting solos throughout The Fire Itself. Bryce Kelley and Isaiah Perez hold down the rhythm section with bass and drums respectively, both of which have proven time and time again just how talented they are, but they really shine here.

Standout Tracks: All of the tracks on The Fire Itself are amazing and just truly classic Phinehas. But, as with every album, there have to be some standouts. Kicking off this cluster is “The Storm in Me.” Being on the slower side, this track is a nice break from the sheer heaviness of the album. The lyrics are about as blatantly Christian as most Phinehas songs tend to be, with them sounding like a prayer. Crying out for help, because we cannot handle our problems on our own. Another standout is “Holy Coward.” Never ones to shy away from calling out the hypocrites or issues within Christianity, Phinehas kept the heaviness up on this track. “Holy Coward” brings in that simplistic, stiff, beatdown/hardcore style to the forefront while Sean screams “where is your backbone holy coward”? “Eternally Apart” is another standout for me as it is one of the more melodic tracks on The Fire Itself. As a whole, the record is more of a straightforward metalcore sound, so to start it off with a more melodic metalcore sound was a bold move. You can really hear the emotion in “Eternally Apart” both in the singing and in the instruments. There is a melancholy sound throughout the track, and these two features are what make this track standout. Compared to the rest of the album, save for a couple tracks, “Eternally Apart” takes its time. It is the longest track on the record, coming in at just over five minutes. It is more technical throughout, really letting the members shine and show off a little bit, but that argument could be made for any song on this record.

Rating: 9/10

Final Thoughts:

The Fire Itself is a darn near perfect record, it is classic Phinehas, and the sound that they gave us was that perfect mid-2010’s metalcore sound. This is their heaviest record in my opinion and it might just be my favorite Phinehas album. As a long time fan, I am very pleased with what they have given us. But don’t just take my word for it, go listen to this record. Whether you’re like me and you’re a long time fan, or maybe this is your first time hearing about Phinehas, go listen to this record.