Phinehas earned their right in the metalcore community early on in their career. In 2010 they partnered with a crooked label and were promised guidance and support, but they quickly learned they were being coached down dead-end roads. If it were any other band, the path crumbling beneath them would have stopped them in their tracks.
But instead of being held back by adversity, they thrived in spite of it. They tackled their own marketing and booked their own shows. They carved for themselves a new route through the wilderness, and the path they traveled not only made them stronger, but added the influence of resourcefulness to their sound.
Phinehas—comprised of Sean McCulloch, Daniel Gailey, Bryce Kelley, and Lee Humerian—has proven to be a band determined to move forward. And when Gailey joined the trio in 2014 and helped record their album Till The End, they realized they’d stumbled upon chemistry that could propel them even further. Since then Gailey and McCulloch have been collaborating, co-writing, and pushing each other to take their music to the next level. And their latest album, Dark Flag, is the embodiment of that learned ingenuity.
“The longer you are in a band the harder it is not to repeat yourself,” explains Gailey. “We pushed ourselves hard to retain our sound and then go a step further. We want to continue to earn the heaviness we’re playing.” They also earned a whole new team of support. With new management, booking, and a partnership with Solid State Records, they were able to focus exclusively on their metalcore dream.
Not only do they showcase that heaviness in guitar harmonies and aggressive melodies, but in the content they’re willing to approach. Each track off Dark Flag highlights, exposes, or wrestles with the inhumane confinements of the Kim Dynasty in North Korea. “Dark Flag is about the indoctrination that goes into any communist state,” explains McCulloch. “It’s about the abuse, isolation, and oppression its people feel.” The weight of the record in both sound and structure showcases a band unafraid to approach what’s often difficult to accept and easy to ignore. “The only hope we have is that when things get as dark as they are in North Korea, light has a chance to shine brighter. We have to believe that when things are broken they have a chance to be put back together,” explains McCulloch. “And during this process, I want to make sure that young people understand the history, what’s happening, and that the North Korean people deserve liberty from the Kim dynasty.”
Phinehas has worked hard to move forward, and their refusal to be confined has proven their ability to not only seek uncharted territory, but take it into their own hands and conquer it.