Sound — 9
Phoenix is a celebration of all things good about the british technical modern rock band InMe from their mainstream breakthrough back in 2002 up until the present day. Named after the radio station that first broke them, "Phoenix" covers all the ground that the band has previously covered whilst showcasing a new sound that might just surprise a few people. All four of InMe's studio LPs are equally represented here. Overgrown Eden's loud quiet dynamics are represented by the bouncy exuberance of breakout song "Underdose", the raw power of "Firefly" as well as highest charting single "Crushed Like Fruit". The maturity shown on sophomore effort "White Butterfly" is represented by the ever catchy lead single "Faster The Chase", the lush strings and visceral screams of ballad "Chamber" and the massive riffs of "Safe In A Room". It's the cuts from the bands later material though that put the "Joe Morgan era" to shame. Three tracks from landmark technical rock album "Daydream Anonymous" (Myths and Photographs, Cracking The Whip and Thanks For Leaving Me) are prime examples of the band's new finger tapping heavy and complex direction. Three tracks from the bands latest album "Herald Moth"(The comic Single of the Weak, All Terrain Vehicle and the standout "old" track here in Nova Armada)are largely overshadowed however by three new tracks which outgun their 2009 by some measure. The dubstep assisted "Bury Me Deep Beneath Your Skin" is a 4 minute blast of riffs, finger tapping and soaring vocals that put everything they've ever done before to shame. It's heavier brother "Saccharine Arcadia" contains an unexpected yet excellent beatdown, a barrage of riffs and possibly one of the best choruses of the band's career. "Thanks For Believing Me" provides a heartfelt foil to the other two's brutality, completing a triumvirate of refreshing new material which stands the band in good stead for the future.
Lyrics — 9
Dave McPherson is criminally underappreciated and Phoenix serves to show just how far he has come in the past 8 years. The angsty screams of earlier work are still there even in newer material but are more controlled and channelled for effect, whilst his melodic work is fantastic as always. It's his vocal performance on the newer material that shines here, with the two heavier tunes featuring soaring high range vocal lines that beggar belief. Lyrically, InMe have always focused on the personal, be it dark (Safe In A Room deals with a failed suicide attempt) or light and uplifting (Myths and Photographs). The newer material showcases the band at their most heartfelt and poetic, but nevertheless effectively brutal and sharp in their delivery.
Overall Impression — 9
On the whole, Phoenix serves it's purpose as a snapshot of the band's career to date and also goes to show just how varied and ultimately under-appreciated they actually are. The new material will surely only leave fans craving more and the old material on show reminds you why their rise was so meteoric in the first place. It is an excellent starting point and a real appetiser for a band who still has a lot of life left yet.