A small crowd of devoted grindcore fans gathered at Alex's Bar in Long Beach last night to support beloved OC band, Phobia. The wet drizzly weather wasn't a deterrent for the group of less than a hundred which really only began to show up as the second to last band, Bellflower based Flatbush, was half-way done with their set.
When Phobia took the stage at the end of the night, immediately the buzzing razor sharp riffs and voluminous heavy bass distorted the entire room and made the bar rattle. The blast beats were full of rage, precision and the speed of an assault rifle. Combined with harsh, guttural vocals, Phobia's brand of DIY ethics and a skillful blend of death metal and hardcore punk have earned the band a loyal fan base of fans into the underground extreme metal/punk scene. Since 1990, the band have kept pummeling along in the world of underground grind core, with a focus on anarchism as lifestyle and philosophy.
Phobia's presence in the local and greater grind core scene cannot be over looked. As a band that works as hard as they do, the band has always strived bring it live, and they do not disappoint. Taking the sounds of Agnostic Front, Napalm Death, and Deicide, Phobia's aggressive, fast and urgent sound gets fans go ape shit.
The current lineup of the band features singer Shane MacLachlan, bassist Calum M., drummer Brian Fajardo and guitarist Cece Grind. Musically the band's rapid fire attack never fails to flare up a nice mosh pit, but at Alex's Bar, due to the lack of participation, only a brief miniature half circle pit formed, as the several would-be slam dancers failed to incite much mayhem. But, that didn't mean the violent, politically charged music wasn't getting a reaction. There was plenty of fist pumping and head banging throughout the bar, as the punk infused extreme metal blasted sentiments of anger, distrust, and rejection of the status quo. With a ripping set that lasted around 45 minutes, Phobia raged through tons of songs from a career that has spanned two decades, including new tracks from the band's most recent releases, Unrelenting (2010) and Remnants of Filth (2012). Most fans stood marveling at the speed of the music, drinking IPA pints and PBR tall cans.
Just when the loudness and fury was at an all-time high, the band welcomed drummer Danny Walker (Inronaut, Murder Construct) whose insane ability and speed took things to another level. By the time the band was done, the room was echoing feedback and cheers as the audiences' eardrums took a collective beating, in the name of grind core metal. It was just a shame that more fans didn't get to witness the various power violence, grirndcore, and hardcore punk sounds of local groups Flatbush, Terokal, Vulva Essers and Bruce X Campbell.
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