When Phantasm moved to Philadelphia from the rolling countryside of upstate New York in 2007, the prog/hardcore/metal/melodic-rocking trio was intent on discovering their musical identity. This weekend marks a significant turning point in that journey with the album release show of their most mainstream-friendly offering to date, “Impossible Machines.”
After nearly 10 years together, Phantasm is steering away from the dour, uber-serious hardcore of their adolescent heroes such as Refused, Dillinger Escape Plan and Drive Like Jehu.
“I think a lot of singers go through a phase where they wanna be a hardcore screamer. But me? I discovered I’m not so good at doing that,” says singer Steven Rosplock.
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There is nary a single scream or screech on “Impossible Machines.” Instead, the vocals drift closer to Zeppelin-esque, pitch-perfect howls.
“It’s about an emphasis on the vocals and the melodies, rather than the instrumentals. As a band, we’ve always worked from the instrumentals first, but we wanted to make sure there was something to sing along with,” says drummer Jay Yachetta.
And while a prog-ish undercurrent can still be felt throughout all eight tracks, Phantasm is more concerned about the casual listener than ever before.
“We started to discover that people really responded to the hookier moments in our songs, while we were all about playing some sort of polyrhythm that was twisting people’s minds around,” says Rosplock. “But that only gets you so far — that kind of self-serving, amusing-yourself way of doing things.”