The third release of the second incarnation of Anthrophobia has landed. Initially formed in the late 80s, the Reading, Pennsylvania band kept playing up until 2007. But the story doesn’t end there, because since 2015, the band reformed and have been pumping out new material—the latest being Altered States.
I was anticipating that I would love this EP based on the band name alone, though I thought they would be grindcore like Phobia, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, etc. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they have more of a stoner metal sound, mixed with a punk rock aggression and a blues-rock vibe.
The first few seconds of the first track really determines whether or not I will like the rest of the record. Immediately, I found myself nodding along to the pounding drums and overdriven bass in the beginning “Cliff Notes.” Then Frank Phobia comes in with his gruff, Southern-tinged vocals, sounding a lot like Neil Fallon of Clutch, as guitarist Brent Black rocks out with a cool bluesy riff with fuzz distortion.
The band goes heavier and faster on “Ghosts,” a noise rock song in the vein of Whores, with Frank employing a more aggressive tone similar to Kevin Sharp (formerly of Brutal Truth, now of Venomous Concept). The longest song “Mute” is a slow build, starting with Frank almost whispering his words as Dickie Delp quietly taps on his drums, eventually crashing down on the cymbals as Frank belts out “Are you feeling satisfied, satisfied?”
The rattling of Rob DiJoseph’s bass can be heard throughout Altered States, but on “Take One For the Team,” DisJoseph gets his moment in the sun, providing the pulse for the verses, until Black’s psychedelic guitar solo overtakes him.
The closer “Running Out of Time” sounds like a straight-up Motörhead banger (the band had previously paid tribute to the rock n’ roll legends in their 2006 song “Lemmy’s Warts”). Frank sings about rocking out as if he’s still a rambunctious youngster, even though he’s passed the 50-year mark. But like Lemmy, the boys in Anthrophobia want to keep playing until their bones become dust, and I am here for that, and I’m excited to hear what they put out next.
If I had a driver’s license, I would continuously put on Altered States during road trips. I can imagine myself punching the steering wheel along with the drums while trying to imitate Frank’s voice, annoying everyone in the backseat.
Written by Chris Aitkens
*Edited by Dominic Abate