PHANTASM-CONFLICT REALITY 7" (HARDCORE VICTIM)
Phantasm's debut EP is one of my fave releases of the year, from Melbourne's glorious Hardcore Victim label, in fact featuring one of the CEOs (Crust Enforcement Officers, lol) Bernie who screams with vitriol and this is the best Australian punk/hardcore 7" EP in years. The four tracks slice your head off as expected in a cunning way. Musically it is a distorted mix of Japanese and Swedish old-school crust mixed with really acerbic vocals that definitely give equal head nods to greats like Vice Squad, Witch Hunt, Appalachian Terror Unit and also local legends Outright and more recent bands like Krimewatch. The production is dynamic and instantly forceful in the best way.
The S/T track is the opener and the maddened tempo is perfectly balanced by some almost slower breakdown brilliance. The players are sharp as hell and the songwriting is spot on. Hence every track is an absolute anthem, Bernie's vocals often push against the instruments, not in an obtuse Converge style way more as jarring comfort that is magnificent. Bad Dreams is as belligerent and one constant is the bludgeoning drums across this release. How's this memorable lyric:
I am having bad dreams, Douse me in gasoline
Hectic and classic intelligent brutality with such shrewd lyrical content. Conflict Reality has incredible lyrics for the whole release as well as mindblowing art.