Review: Phantom Hound “Mountain Pass” [Devil Blues Records]

Review: Phantom Hound “Mountain Pass” [Devil Blues Records]

- in Reviews
Score 80%
When grunge meets the doom… Debut load from the Oakland (CA) trio.
80 %
User Rating : 3.9 (1 votes)

„Don’t you know my name?
Father of the rain
Mountain of the man
No more shadowed land
…Thunder I am“
– Thunder I am by PHANTOM HOUND

Some of us have been waiting for this album release since 2016, but the origins of the band in this introduction date back to 2013 when Jake Navarra first put together a band named Hound”. Seven years later, with a new material, new band members and branded under a new name, the album Mountain Pass“ has finally arrived. This full-length debut album from a Californian blues/stoner/doom trio called “Phantom Hound” was unleashed under the Devil Blues Records and it has set the bar damn high, guys. The band consists of already mentioned Jake Navarra (Guitar & Vocals), Jack Stiles (Drums & Backing Vocals) and Steve Rogers (Bass & Keys). However, the Mountain Pass is not exactly the first Phantom Hound’s release. On 19th of December 2016, after a lengthy delay past recording and mixing in 2014, the EP The Ether was born … and it was already a blast.

“Written and recorded fall of 2014 captures the sounds of deeply buried tones in the corridors of the East Bay area. Originally slated to be released in winter of 2014/15 the EP was put on hold due to vocalist/guitarist Jake Navarra suffering a motorcycle accident. Now that some time has passed and both bones and wallets have healed, we’re back to give you the goods.”

– Phantom Hound about The Ether EP, source YouTube

We all need those bands that catch our attention right from the beginning and drag our souls through highs and lows. We desire to be unable to pull ourselves away even if we’re left feeling like a train wreck afterwards. Mountain Pass will take you on a journey all around, from “the north to the south” …and that’s not an easy task! Huge and intense bluesy riffs will keep you company through the whole album, right beside the Alice in Chain-ish vocals of Jake. From the start, listening to the first track The Northern Face, you know that it`s gonna be dirty and loud, groovy ride. You will hear some rock-solid “A” notes by Jake Navarra right after the first blues riff on the second track Thunder I Am, after which it elegantly shifts into a doomy and catchy chorus. But you still have to wait a bit for my favourite one. The fifth song, Grace of an Angel, offers a soothing layover – it delivers well-deserved rest after four heavy rolling tracks! This vibrant instrumental is like a balsam for your soul. And then it comes – my favourite – self-titled Mountain Pass with a mid-grunge tempo, well-articulated guitars and Layne Staley’s vibe. Tasty and dirty as hell blues solo at the beginning shifts into the deep and soulful riff, which stands alone at the start, but shortly comes the rest of the band – it immediately transfer your mind on the road …passing the places you used to know “…On My Own Road – My story’s told – On my own path – A mountain pass“. Following, almost heavy metal bridge, you can expect some psychedelic heavy reference to Staley.

“Riding on the thunder & lightening
Storm from gods up above
House is Burning Down on the Mountain
Buckled all the granite & stone”
– The Southern Face by PHANTOM HOUND

What I truly appreciate is that Phantom Hound brings the sound alive, mixed and produced at Airship Laboratories & Shark Bite Studios by Chris Hughes and mastered at Ancient Wave studios by Oz Fritz. The echoes of the room, glitches of the breath and noticeably massive tube amp and drum sound is what makes it honest. This debut finishes with almost Sabbath’s classy vibes. The last track The Southern Face“ is vintage and extra-doom, even more so than the rest of the album. Despite the 90’s grunge vibes… Phantom Hound delivers intense high-quality stuff, from the vocals to riffs, that can be heard over and over again. The bite of progressiveness allows you to always find something new, and that counts!

Find out more or support the band:

Released on 28th of March

Phantom Hound comprises of Jake Navarra (Guitar and Vocals), Steve Rogers (Bass and Keys), Jack Stiles (Drums and Backing Vocals)

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About the author

If it`s loud and good... count me in! Rock and Metal enthusiast from Prague.