This rebellious Black and Speed Metal duo hailing from Norway is ready to reap again to the sound of their sulfurous sophomore opus.
Hailing from Bergen, Norway, Black/Speed Metal outfit Phantom Fire includes members from such bands as Gaahls Wyrd and Krakow, but on evidence of their first public recording, the 2021 two-song EP Return of the Goat, Phantom Fire are definitely their own band. Now in 2023, little more than a year after the release of their full-length opus The Bust of Beelzebub, the band formed of Eld (aka Frode Kilvik) on vocals and bass, and Kjartan (aka Kjartan Grønhaug, or simply K_G) on the guitars and electronics, is ready to reap again with their sophomore opus, titled Eminente Lucifer Libertad. Produced, mixed and mastered by Enslaved’s own Iver Sandøy (who also plays drums in the entire album) at Solslottet Studio, displaying a sinister artwork by Per “Hellbutcher” Gustavsson (Nifelheim, Necrocurse), and featuring eerie narrations by Ferruccio Goia, the album keeps the duo’s core sound intact and yet show palpable new sides of their music across its slightly longer and daresay-stronger content, riding the lightning of all-out speed as often as they moodily march to pagan vastlands, sometimes all in the span of the same song.
Not a single second of peace is offered to our blackened souls in Bloodshed, with Eld roaring manically accompanied by the visceral riffs by Kjartan in a fast and furious Thrash Metal party with Hardcore influences, followed by the weird interlude Eminente, which sets the tone for Derive from Ash, a mid-tempo Black and Thrash Metal aria where Eld’s vocals sound inspired by the one and only Abbath, with his bass lines hitting us hard in the head supported by the solid drumming by Iver. Then back to a more ferocious mode, it’s truly exciting how the duo managed to blend the best elements from Black and Thrash Metal in their music as you can sense both styles at once in Ritual, led by the fulminating riffage by Kjartan, morphing into the devilish Satanic Messenger, where eerie vociferations are accompanied by electronic sounds and noises crafted by Kjartan. Not exactly the type of track hardcore fans of thrash would expect, but it does its job in a decent way.
Lucifer is another idiosyncratic track by the band that builds the atmosphere for De Taptes Dans, where we face almost three minutes of obscurity and violence. Furthermore, Iver is once again brutal on drums providing Eld with exactly what he needs to bark like a demonic entity; and investing in a rebellious, punk-ish attitude the duo fires the heavy tune Black Night, where their riffs and bass lines walk hand in hand in the name of extreme music. Mara is a wicked creation overflowing progressiveness, groove and rage with Kjartan hammering his guitar mercilessly, extracting pure Black Metal from his riffs, and the band offers us all another short and sweet interlude titled Libertad before kicking our asses one last time in Pentagram, the longest and most detailed of all songs where Eld’s bass and Iver’s beats bring sheer groove to the music, sounding more like a summoning of evil spirits than an actual metal song. The final result is truly compelling, though.
The insurgent duo of Phantom Fire is ready to kick your ass armed with their flammable new album, and in order to show them you’re a true servant of our buddy Lucifer you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their music on Spotify, and purchase your copy of Eminente Lucifer Libertad from the Edge Circle Productions’ BandCamp page or from their webstore in the United States or in Europe, as well as from Apple Music. In the end, the album is a rowdier listen but also one that’s stoic or even ceremonial; the chill of the tundra coats all of Eminente Lucifer Libertad, and so does the burning light of Lucifer (up)rising from beneath, always in the name of our beloved extreme music.
Best moments of the album: Bloodshed, De Taptes Dans and Mara.
Worst moments of the album: Satanic Messenger.
Released in 2023 Edge Circle Productions
1. Bloodshed 2:33
2. Eminente 0:10
3. Derive from Ash 4:58
4. Ritual 3:42
5. Satanic Messenger 3:32
6. Lucifer 0:57
7. De Taptes Dans 2:49
8. Black Night 1:42
9. Mara 2:55
10. Libertad 0:19
11. Pentagram 6:24
Eld – vocals, bass
Kjartan – guitars, electronics
Iver Sandøy – drums
Ferruccio Goia – narration