[Review] Pharm – Vortex

Pharm is a Canadian band that offers a blend of Progressive and Stoner sounds between Rock and Metal. Their debut album “Vortex” was released on October 29, 2022 and contains 11 medium-length tracks. Opener “Acolyte” immediately shows the band’s musical imprint between heavy guitar riffs and a solid, elaborate rhythm section. The vocals are aggressive, the bass lines deep and weighty, and the sound textures refined and with marked Progressive influences. The tempo changes are an added bonus and the band shows remarkable technique, delivering a gritty and engaging track. A blast of power mixed with technical passages “Conqueror” combines stoner riffs and continuous tempo changes with very refined textures. The bass offers a killer bassline, the drumming is very elaborate and solid, the guitar work of absolute standard and the vocals add power to the sound. Constantly evolving, it shows a wide range of solutions and ideas from the band, carefully alternating between sung parts and instrumental sections where everyone collaborates with quality. “Device” is an energetic and very technical track, with a more intricate rhythm section, sharp guitar riffs and dynamic and expressive vocals. It is constantly evolving, with funky bass lines, fine guitar work and drumming that is enriched with changes and technical passages. A concentration of power and quality, enhancing both the compositional and performance skills of the band. “Rat Milk, Pt. 1” is a short 1-minute interlude with sound and effect modulations. With more stoner traits, “Crystal Ships” features heavy guitar riffs and an aggressive vocal. With at times dark atmospheres, it shows some of the best tempo changes and ideas heard in recent times. Constantly evolving both in the rhythm section and in developing the central theme of the song, it shows a perfect blend of Prog and Stoner with forays into Heavy sounds. One of the longest on the album, “Six” encapsulates all the band’s musical concepts, their essence. Very technical passages, bursts of pure energy, energetic and melodic vocal parts that alternate perfectly with the instrumental ones. A continuous musical crescendo that takes the sound in the second half to truly excellent technical levels and intensity. Virtuosities and distinctly heavy sounds come together in the intricate “Tear at the Wall,” which shows the band’s most extreme facet. Frenetic rhythms and riffs, virtuosities linked to an aggressive vocal, closer to Metal than Rock is truly a concentration of the highest quality. A powerful, dark bass line opens “Embryo” developed over heavy riffs and monolithic drumming. A track like this made me turn up the volume, to savour this bass line that makes the body vibrate, giving an extra quid to the track. The vocals are always very energetic and the precise and punctual tempo changes give further quality to the track. “The Time Borrower, Pt. 1” is another one-minute interlude with dark atmospheres blended with ellectronic sounds. The longest track on the album, “Orbiting the Vortex,” which runs over 9 minutes, confirms the good things heard so far. Powerful riffs, a granitic rhythm section and an energetic and aggressive vocal. All this with the addition of continuous tempo changes and evolutions of the track between modern and quality Progressive, monolithic Stoner between Rock and Metal. The final track “Thanks” closes the album with a theme that unsice dark passages with drumming and keyboards. First, I want to thank the band for giving me the opportunity to review this album. It is a concentrate of very refined technique, power managing to mix the traits of Stoner and Progressive, rock and metal in the best way. Very sophisticated passages, high-level ideas and a sound that makes you want to turn up the volume. A recommended listen for all lovers of the heavier sounds of Prog with Stoner traits, in my opinion a masterpiece both in composition and execution.

Tracklist

01. Acolyte (04:43)
02. Conqueror (05:46)
03. Device (04:05)
04. Rat Milk, Pt. 1 (01:23)
05. Crystal Ships (04:39)
06. Six (07:15)
07. Tear at the Wall (05:58)
08. Embryo (04:52)
09. The Time Borrower, Pt. 1 (01:00)
10. Orbiting the Vortex (09:27)
11. Thanks (02:14)

Lineup

Lucas Segall / Bass, Vocals
Matt Parson / Guitar
Teagan Ramage / Drums

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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