Phantom On The Horizon [EP] Review

artist: The Fall of Troy date: 12/03/2008 category: compact discs
The Fall of Troy: Phantom On The Horizon [EP]
Released: November 28, 2008
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Equal Vision
Number Of Tracks: 5
The concept behind Phantom on the Horizon tells the fictional story of a Spanish galleon meeting with a ghost ship from another dimension.
 Sound: 9.5
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (5) 41 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
Phantom On The Horizon [EP] Reviewed by: punkforlife93, on december 03, 2008
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: What can I say - when I first heard about this record coming out, I pretty much creamed myself. The Phantom on the Horizon - it even sounded awesome. I knew that I had to get my hands on it, and I eagerly anticipated its release, and being able to listen to what would no doubt be a masterpiece. With the addition of bassist Frank Black, this trio would have rather high expectations to live up to, and they definitely did.

Guitar: Wow - what can I say? Just beyond awesome, Thomas Erak completely destroys all of his opposition with creative finesse on this album. The guitar is utilized in tons of ways, and he just lays out riff after riff to the listener, without mercy. This guitar work is easily as good as the previous eras of The Fall of Troy, if not better, and you would be wise to pick it up, especially if you're an aspiring guitarist.

Bass: I don't tend to pay much attention to the bass in a song, but wherever his playing was highlighted, it was pretty great. I don't have too much to say about it, to be honest, but Frank Black seems to fill Tim's shoes pretty well.

Drumming: The drumming in this album is pretty much amazing. Although the guitar tends to be the highlight, there are several points in songs where Andrew Forsman shows off with creative fills utilizing the different aspects of his trapset, and he sure knows how to make a song sound heavy. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics of The Fall of Troy have never been something that I neccessarily listened to them for, but in this concept album the lyrics do tend to be more creative than on other albums, and they follow a definite storyline. It is definitely the trippiest album that they have, and it takes only fifteen seconds of the first song to demonstrate this. As soon as Black strikes the first mutant bass note, you know this will be far different from before, and the lyrics shows. "The stars scream out, and spew our names, told through the skies and hellacious waves... copied and calculated we waited forever and now I remember, how cumulus clouds turned our world upside down." Definitely some of my favorite lyrics, at the beginning of Chapter I. The other awesome ones are in Chapter IV, but I mention those later in the review. The singing... well, there's definitely more of it. There are parts that used to be screamed and now are sung, and then there are parts that were originally exempt of lyrics that have now been filled. This isn't always a bad thing - for example, in Chapter V, I love the way the voices of Erak and Black mesh in the chorus - but in the epic screaming part of Chapter IV, there is now singing, which is a definite downside if you ask me. However, Frank Black replacing Tim as a screamer in the band turns out to be a good thing rather than bad, as he provides a sort of bassy balance to Erak's more shrill screams. As a matter of fact, there are many parts in the album where Erak tends to go all-out falsetto, and it is really amazing at some times, where others he winds up sounding like a deranged chipmunk. // 9

Overall Impression: Chapter I: Introverting Dimensions - This was always my least favorite of the Ghostship Demoes, but with this release, my ideas were suddenly reversed. This is now probably one of my favorites of the album, as there have been many significant changes to it, while still retaining the original feel. For example, this one has been slowed down immensely, and it clocks in at 10 minutes. However, contrary to some of the other songs, this is actually a good thing, and the guitar-work shines on this track. It starts off with a dreary, warped bass line, after which the creepy guitar enters. At about 4:30 the breakdown begins, which is definitely pretty awesome, and features some lighting fast palm muting and creative tapping worthy of mention. Then at 5:50-7:30 begins one of my favorite Fall of Troy moments ever, near the end of which Erak just rapes his Guitar with some spontaneous improvised shred. Afterwards is the melancholy bridge, with a pretty awesome riff, and some more improvised soloing by Erak, albeit not quite as sickening, but more technical by far. Then there's a minute and a half break leading into Chapter II. Rating: 10/10

Chapter II: A Strange Conversation - The classic crummily recorded favorite has been revitalized and emerges as amazing as ever. With an intense intro utilizing combinations of power chords and rapid hammer-on/pull-offs, the song enters with a bang. It doesn't slow down through the song, piledriving your face into the ground with a speedy verse that would confuse the most learned of guitarists. The chorus is one of the highlights, with screaming contributed by both Erak and Black. The bridge is very trippy, with Erak's voice sounding almost chipmunk-like with a strange sort of speed riff in the background. The breakdown afterwards, though, is outright amazing, although short, with an addition of screaming. Everything comes to an abrupt halt at 3:15 though, and a dissonant riff plays in the background leading into the highly anticipated Chapter III. Rating: 9/10

Chapter III: Nostalgiac Mannerisms - The song opens up with an extremely weird riff with tons of bent chords, interrupted by the verse, which has loads of cool riffing, and then leading into...something else? It just shoots right past, throwing riff after riff into your face with barely enough time to comprehend the awesomeness. There's some creepy laughing at 1:40, and the track begins to enter full blown "BLOW-YOU-AWAY" mode. Erak chips in a minute later with a crazy falsetto, where you're afraid your mp3 player screen might implode. Then there's a girl speaking - I think it's Erak's girlfriend, or maybe Erak himself, as strange as that would be, and an almost lullaby riff, but with a demonic overtone. "Can you guide me home?" Erak sings in his high-pitched voice with a deceptive riff in the background, and then a heavily muted breakdown and some awesome screaming by Black. Then the weirdest riff comes in, with tons of bending and an out of tune sound coming in, and a complete "insane-asylum" feel to it, like Erak has completely lost his mind. The transition to Chapter IV is smooth and simple. Rating:8/10

Chapter IV: Enter the Black Demon - Our favorite riff from the Ghostship Demoes opens up with wild abandon, letting loose immediately, trilling like there's no tommorrow, followed by an immense screamed "yeah!!!" The entire thing seems smooth until the Black Demon comes in with speedy singing, but exempt from the extreme screaming we all loved. "God's not a goldmine, God's on the inside, selling everybody on the frontlines out. Did you think your were rightside in, maybe inside out? Reaching for, the gun, to load and pursuade you, to stay..." Probably my favorite lyrics in the Ghostship series. Then there's the "murder!!!" screaming, going overboard on all counts, and Erak begins to sing in his classic reverb loaded voice. The breakdown is very fast, and the then another awesome guitar riff is loaded into the gun and fired off, and then - it ends. The minute and a half transition into Chapter V is my favorite yet, and beauty seeps from all of the pores. Rating:9/10

Chapter V: The Walls Bled Lust - You can tell immediately that this one has been slowed down, but in this example, it turns out to be a blessing rather than a curse, and it is automatically established as an interesting song. The chorus has slightly less screaming, but it still sounds great, better than the original in fact. The second time the chorus comes around there's an awesomely fast riff that has maybe twenty notes in a couple seconds. The next part, bass-heavy, is extremely trippy, almost like a dance portion. Then there's the "I made up my mind," part with yet another unique but speedy riff. Then there's my favorite part, at about 3:20 onwards, and I won't spoil it for you - it just gets better and better from that point on, with a seemingly cheery riff in the background, like everything was going to be good again. When the everything starts slowing down and dropping octaves, it should be a hint to the listener that everything is about to go downhill. One of my favorite EVER breakdowns for The Fall of Troy starts at about 4:40, and is a complete mosh-fest/headbang-extravaganza. It's almost sickeningly awesome. The only one that could touch it is the one in Whacko Jacko Steals the Elephant Man's Bones, or maybe the one at the end of Seattlantis. But right when it seems it's over, the cymbals of drums kick in as do the screams, and you realize it's the best breakdown you've heard. EVER. The only way to listen to it is loud. My ears about had an orgasm. Then near the seven minute mark, the outro kicks in, and you can envision the Ghostship leaving the carnage - the Phantom on the Horizon, if you will. It's the perfect end to the album. Rating:10/10

Get this album. It's an epic neccessity to any collector of The Fall of Troy's albums, and it will not dissapoint. If it was stolen from me, I would congradulate the burgler on his good taste before beating him over the head with a sledgehammer. (ba-DUM - lame pun) But seriously, this album is great. // 10

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overall: 8.7
Phantom On The Horizon [EP] Reviewed by: noscottno711, on december 03, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: A while back The Fall of Troy made a few demos that, of course, got leaked onto the internet. These Ghostship demos have been the center of quite a bit of fan controversy for a while now. But then, it was announced that a new EP was to be released, Phantom On The Horizon. This would be a new, and improved, remake of the demos. And I must say, the band did a fantastic job. Each song is dramatic, deep, and, for lack of a better word, epic. The guitar work by Thomas is abrasive, intricate, and melodic. Every time I think that I can't be anymore amazed, he manages to do so. Surprisingly, the drums shine through a lot more on this album, epically in Chapter I: Introverting Dimensions, which is basically a giant tension-builder for the rest of the album. Frank's bass also astounded me-quite powerful. As the tension of the first song is released in Chapter II I immediately knew I was going to love this album. Erak's new vocal style is shown a bit. Less abrasive, more dramatic. Chapter III was my favorite track, because the middle was such a departure from all of their other songs (listen to it, I don't want to give away any surprises). Chapter IV is incredibly catchy and probably has the craziest guitar work on it. The main riff to Chapter V is just awesome, and the breakdown at the end is as brutal as can be. The record is also very well produced. The only thing I really didn't like about the album wad the excessive feedback. I'm pretty sure ten minutes of the EP is just a wall of distortion, which can be sweet. But in this case, I think it's just overdone. Overall a great sound. // 9

Lyrics: I adore Thomas's new vocal style on the album. It is very dramatic and almost in a gospel style at some points. The only problem I see is that sometimes the vocals are too quiet. But in this case his voice acts more like an instrument then anything. The lyrics are also really great, although they are sometimes hard to make out. The EP is basically a giant story, open for interpretation, which is another asset that's nice. Getting entranced in the storyline is very easy to do. // 8

Overall Impression: I loved this album. At first I was a little skeptical because I thought their last record was sub-par. But this really did it for me. They manage to cram a whole lot of great sound into a tiny bit of time. This may be a sound that a some people will have to get used to though. The tracks are very abrasive, but they grow on you. The band did a phenomenal job of remaking the old demos and spicing them up with some new flavor. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Phantom On The Horizon [EP] Reviewed by: whackjackvolta?, on december 03, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Phantom on the Horizon is just yet another masterpiece by a truly masterful band, The Fall of Troy. It is the first 5 chapters of the ghostship series and re-mastered and re-awakened as the songs they always were destined to be. The quality is spectacular compared to the originals, and might even be the best to date from them, depending on what kind of sound you are looking for. A common theme to the sound is the eerie, creepy sound, which fits perfectly for the ghostships, specifically in part 1. Added keys truly add to the mix, and create a whole vibe for the listener to base their emotions of off. Each song is longer than the originals, with many effects after the songs, relating to The Mars Volta's Frances the Mute. Once again, The Fall of Troy combines everything good about various types of music into one, ranging from technical, to heavy, to catchy. This is truly a work of art. There is only one potential problem, and it's all based on your matter of opinion, in the new chapters, there is less screaming in parts that used to be such as chapter IV: Enter black demon. The old versions might be better in that respect, however it sounds great nonetheless. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are very good, and always fit perfectly with the instrumentals. They are quite weird and at times, maybe a little bit unnerving; however, the music is weird too, so it works out perfectly. Overall, the lyrics are something to add, not something to listen solely too, unlike many people's belief. Thomas just keeps on improving at vocals, and one great example is in the song chapter III: Nostalgic Mannerisms, it goes into a fear before-esque riff, and Thomas' voice soars and keeps on going higher, and it sounds great and is spine tingling. Also, let's not forget about Frank Black, his vocals are less in number, but noticeable and easily able to relate to. // 9

Overall Impression: My overall impression of this album is everything I could have asked for out of the ghostships. If compared to one other album, besides the ghostships obviously, it would be a cross between the self titled and doppelganger, which might be good for those who didn't enjoy Manipulator as much as the others. Although if you did enjoy Manipulator, as I did, this album is also for you. Every song is different and each has at least one part per song where everything is just too good to be true. I love everything about this album, from the vibe, to the sound, to the lyrics, everything. There is nothing bad about this album at all, only the fact that there is less screaming and more singing, which isn't bad or good, it's just there. If it were stolen or lost, I would probably cry for about 3 weeks, then after I realized that that doesn't help, I'd go buy a new one, even though it's on my computer. These cd's are special however, you can only buy them at one of the upcoming shows. If you are looking for a truly great record filled with suspense, technicality, and musical perfection, than this is the album for you. Enjoy! // 10

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overall: 9.7
Phantom On The Horizon [EP] Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 04, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: So here it is, the long awaited Phantom on the Horizon. I know I'd been dreaming about it. This album is a love-hate thing with me, with some amazing changes and additions and a few letdowns, but I'll get into that in a minute. First off, the sound quality. The Fall of Troy has always blown me away with how damn big they sound. POTH is probably the best example of this to date. Granted, they used a lot of layering and mixing this time around, but when they finally kick into Introverting Dimensions it's like the dam broke. My one beef is that sometimes Andrew's beats sound a bit too simple and weak, especially since I expect great things from this killer drummer. // 10

Lyrics: I go more into it with my song analysis, but I'll touch on some main points here. Thomas' improved voice is awesome, but I think he flaunts it a bit too much when he should be screaming. Still, it all fits the music and acts as more of an instrument than vocals. Frank has a great growl, and I can't wait to hear it on the new album. The lyrics, as before, help set the stage and reflect the mood of the music. I never get tired of coming along with the crew on their voyage through hell. // 10

Overall Impression: 01.Introverting Dimensions: on my first listen, I was immediately thrown right back into the dark, grisly mood that the demos made me feel. They stretched the intro out a bit, but it builds up the tension even better. Then, like I said, they blow your damn ears off, and the added organ part give it an otherworldly feel. Thomas' singing is pretty much amazing at this point in his career, so gone are the underpowered slightly off vocals of before. The little echoes from Thom during the chorus are also a nice touch, adding more confusion to the attack. The "shoot to kill" section was kind of disappointing, as it was much more powerful in the demo, but it's not bad. The big climax/outro is where this track really shines. Tom's powerful voice is flat out awesome for the last line of the song, and the solo afterwards is a welcome addition. Overall, I'd say this is an improvement on the original. 9/10 02.A Strange Conversation: this demo had a special place in my heart because I knew how powerful it could be with some reworked vocals, thus it was the one I anticipated the most. It starts balls-out like the first one, and Tom is right on key with the vocals this time around. The chorus is even better since it's been tightened up, and the added octave on the "woah" adds to the creepy factor. My favorite part of this whole album is the "Let go" part, and it was the part I was looking most forward to hear reworked. The extra parts make this downright scary, and the "all of time!" line is god. Listen to it cranked, you'll see what I mean. Amazing. 11/10 03.Nostalgic Mannerisms: I never really listened to the demo of this one since the only ones you could find sounded like poop, so I didn't know what to expect. It's kinda poppy for TFOT, but learning from Manipulator (which was AMAZING despite what others say), you just gotta listen. The guitar part in the beginning is yet another great example of Tom's unique approach to guitar and completely disregard for "normal" song structure, instead leaving ideas to never return. The middle of this song (2:20 ish) takes me to the damn moon with how friggin epic it sounds. Holy balls Tom can sing. Do more stuff like this guys, it's amazing! The little interlude is a bit creepy, and the "guide me home" part is intentionally silly in my opinion, foreshadowing the protagonist losing his mind, and the part following it is just bad***. The stuttering, bending riff at the end meshes perfectly with the lyrics, and it sounds great. Great song, very different from the rest. 9/10 04.Enter the Black Demon: I'm sorry, but this track was just disappointing. They took out the two key elements that made the demo amazing: breakneck speed and desperate, crazy screaming. From the get go, I was excited for my favorite Ghostship. Then it got to the demon. What the hell did you do Tom!? This was some of the best screaming you had ever done and you destroyed it! This song lost it's balls. It doesn't have the intensity anymore. Every other part is about the same as the demo, minus a few bpm's. 6/10 05.The Walls Bled Lust: again, slowed down, but it doesn't bother me that much on this track. The new vocals in the verse are great, but they're a bit more choppy than the fluid lines from the original that I liked. I do love the added screaming in the funky breakdown, which still makes me wanna dance as much as the original. One thing they did improve on was the already epic "I've made up my mind" part. Again, Tom's improved vocals make this part soar. With the awesome triplets in leading into the crunching powerchords and The vocals, I feel pumped. The final breakdown is stretched out and about 50x more brutal. Awesome track and great way to end the album. 10/10 Loves - Tom's new singing prowess, Pt. II is amazing!, 2:20 in Pt. III, killer breakdown near the end of V. Hates - Sometimes slower tempo (and less intensity), Pt. IV is essentially ruined, some great screaming replaced with singing. I don't own a hard copy... yet. But when I do, if it were stolen I'd murder for it since this is the greatest band ever, and if I lost it I'd kick myself in the balls. Definitely one I'd replace. I was a little critical on this album, but damn, I've waited like 4 years for it, plus there are originals to compare it to. If it was fresh music I'd probably appreciate it more. I still love it, even though they killed a few good parts, it's still amazing. Doesn't replace the demos. // 9

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