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Friday, September 17, 2021

Review: Exorcizphobia – Friend of Lunacy

Label: Self released

Date: July 22nd, 2021

There’s probably just one feature of this EP that would clearly indicate the band’s country of origin. A Malignant Tumour cover. Other than that, you could simply call them a pack of New Yorkers. Musically speaking, of course.

But what’s much more important than what this quartet’s passports declare is the punch they pack. Again, strictly musically speaking.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to acquire their latest full length, “Digitotality”, right in the middle of the pandemic chaos that was year 2020. I’ve reviewed it back then and it passed with flying colors. A whole year later, I can safely say I haven’t heard a better album since. Probably a few years before, too. And not just in the thrashing crossover section of the scene. The Czechs ripped me apart. It is the album that doesn’t go far from my stereo. Hasn’t ever since I’ve gotten it. And keep in mind that I’m trying to be a reviewer on a regular basis, so I get a whole lot of records all the time.

“Digitotality” still holds its deserved place, way up high! If you still haven’t heard it, do so immediately. I cannot stress enough how important record it is. Thank me later.

But now I need to focus on their new EP. This one falls no shorter than its predecessor. Except for the timeframe. This one clocks at around twenty seven minutes. Including the mentioned (exceptional) cover track and an alternative version of the title track.

When it comes to Exorcizphobia’s ability to create and execute killer songs, things have pretty much stayed the same as last year. Though “Friend of Lunacy” comes with a slight twist.

To be exact, the opener, “Inner Strength”, is a Slayer-esque opus that still manages to keep the recognizable Exorcizphobia stamp. However, the leading riff does stem from the same tree as the last couple of Slayer recordings. Even the vocals go to a decidedly harsher territory. At least to a certain degree.

Other three tracks (there are two short introductions included along the mentioned bonuses) keep to the route these Czechs already established. Crossover between old hardcore and even older thrash, with metal being the leading force and hardcore punk just tagging along, giving the whole material some extra charm.

So, now that we’ve established that Exorcizphobia does not reinvent the wheel, what it the thing that must exist to make them stand out of the crowd? You got it! Extremely catchy riffing and choruses that just don’t leave your brain all that easily. And these guys are the absolute masters of just that! Along with the pummeling rhythms that force you to get off your ass and twist your necks. Not to forget the intricate solo work that does more than just exist to show the guitarist’s skill.

Captivating material through and through!

Lyric-wise, Exorcizphobia, as they did on “Digitotality”, sticks to the diseases of modern day humanity. No, not the current pandemic. They are referring to the illnesses that will bring about the end of human kind much faster and more efficiently than any virus. It’s the thoughtless consumerism, greed, social networking and a whole other kind of social distancing… Topics that must be at the tip of everyone’s tongue, but are too often just left there. Activism takes effort and not a lot of us are ready to stand up and fight.

Thoughtful and meaningful lyrics in English place another perspective on the whole EP. Especially considering how often bands outside of English speaking areas are unable to provide them.

It is all underlined with “Missing Rebellion”, a cover of legendary Malignant Tumour. A perfect fit!

So, is it possible I still haven’t convinced you? What more do you need!? Trust me on this, this is the best thrash metal band around these days! Change my mind!