Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Calamitous breakdowns and brilliant riffs

September 24, 2003

Best element: Calamitous breakdowns and brilliant riffs.

Genre: Hardcore-tinged rock.

Label: Action Heights (


I listened to no more than two songs off this album before I knew it was going to be one of this year’s best. When you combine an excellent singer with hardcore-tinged modern rock that’s actually original, nothing but positive results can occur.

The Phoenix Rising is all about rock; their choruses, their breakdowns, their very style is all about adrenaline. Their pulsing, riff-driven rock is wild, chaotic, and tough to pin down, as elements of electronica, space-rock, and emo infiltrate their sound. The drums are thrashing, the bass actually plays a part, and the guitars pound away; it’s safe to say that this rock rocks. It gets even better when the vocals appear; the vocalist sounds like Further Seems Forever-era Chris Carrabba; flailing, wailing, empowered, and excellent. If FSF released “The Moon is Down” with their guitars cranked to full, more anger, and an affinity for calamitous instrumental sections, “Lullaby” would be it.

From the wicked, stomping breakdown in “Shadows and Silhouettes’ to the brilliant riff from “Awakening” to the eerie gravity of “To Paris in a Coffin” to the pure cathartic bliss that is “Mid-July”, this album will leave an impact on you. “Lullaby” is the album to repeat this year, and The Phoenix Rising is the personification of a thunderstorm: merciless, unrelenting, and a wonder to behold.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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