with this release aghast view finally managed to pull together all the best elements that both biopsy and aghast view collected over the years. finally both projects caught up with each other, and the result is an impressive combination of elements that established success of both bands earlier.
I have always thought that biopsy was too disjointed, jumping from on theme to another, while possessing a lot of cool programming and different approaches to sound manipulation. at the same time the main merit of aghast view was pummeling force and aggressiveness kept within the rigid boundaries of simple sound.
"phaseknox" seems to absorb more good elements from biopsy's "third stroke", while retaining just a few from aghast view. most of the tracks on this album are heavy ebm-styled percussion-driven pieces with hard techno flavor and quite a lot of melodic aspects that I was more than pleased to hear. at times deep strings and softer key touches create an unforgettable combination that I would have never expected from aghast view before. vocals is something that has changed as well. while I didn't mind too much growling angst of earlier aghast view, it did start to bother me after a while. on this album there are a few killer instrumentals and when the vocal does appear, it ranges from toned-down abrasiveness of earlier style to unexpected cleaner melodic passages. as with "third stroke", we are treated to some female vocals, that is used in a better and more serious fashion here (a female chorus did remind me of kmfdm a little).
with "phaseknox" the band made a strong turn, embracing richer, more acceptable sound that should undoubtedly appeal to many. a strong dance appeal of most tracks, and lighter, more "mature" attitude should result in longer club play times. I just hope that gashed! will be able to push this album strong enough to get it recognition it deserves.
I guess some people might call it "jumping on a club bandwagon", but even if this is the case, aghast view has done it with style and versatility that many of the bands never presented. this is the move I can only welcome, and while I do recognize a lot of powerful elements in earlier band's material, "phaseknox" is definitely my favorite aghast view album to date.