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PHI

Heavy Prog • Austria


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Phi biography
Hailing from the Austrian town of Trofaiach, power-trio PHI brings an exciting framework of heavy progressive rock augmented with plenty of psychedelic and prog-metal elements to the new millennium's experimental rock scene. PHI members are: Markus Bratusa (guitar, vocals), Arthur Darnhofer-Demar (bass) and Nick Koch (drums). The band cites TOOL, PORCUPINE TREE, MESHUGGAH, ANATHEMA and KING CRIMSON as some of its major influences.

So far, PHI has two releases in its résumé: the long-duration CD "For The Love Of Ghosts" (2011) and the EP "The Deflowering Of Reality" (2012), both publicized in the band?s Bandcamp blog [http://phimusic.bandcamp.com/]. Both items have been highly praised in many e-zines and Internet blogs specialized in metal and experimental rock, and they certainly are solid proof of the kind of energy and creativity that this band has to offer in the name of artistic rock.

In 2013 their first European tour was a great success. Now the band is touring in 2014/2015 for their label debut album "Now the Waves of Sound Remain".

Updated by rdtprog

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PHI discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PHI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 18 ratings
For The Love Of Ghosts
2011
3.57 | 14 ratings
Years Of Breathing
2013
3.80 | 23 ratings
Now The Waves Of Sound Remain
2014
3.82 | 18 ratings
Cycles
2018

PHI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 4 ratings
Waves Over Vienna
2015

PHI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PHI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PHI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
The Deflowering Of Reality
2012

PHI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cycles by PHI album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.82 | 18 ratings

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Cycles
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Austrian band PHI was formed back in 2006, and started making a name for themselves before breaking up a few years later. In 2011 the band reformed, and in their second phase of existence they have developed a style and presence that again have seen them steadily creating a presence for themselves in the contemporary scene. Following a slight pause of four years, the band returned with their fourth studio album "Cycles" in the spring of 2018, a production that was released through German label Gentle Art of Music.

Phi as of 2018 comes across as a dark, quirky and tight band that conjures up their very own brand of harder edged progressive rock with strong progressive metal tendencies, existing somewhere inside a triangle where bands such as Tool, Porcupine Tree and Riverside forms the outer edges. A band and an album well worth taking a look at if this is a description that strikes you as appealing.

 Cycles by PHI album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.82 | 18 ratings

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Cycles
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars PHI is a greek letter, and stands for the golden ratio, the perfect aesthetic balance. The band work towards this golden ratio with music, creating a powerful alliance of aspiration and Rock 'n' Roll attitude. Formed as long ago as 2006, this is their fourth studio album, but it is the first time I have come across them. Apparently they have had a break in their career, and the current line-up is quite different to the original, but I must admit to being somewhat surprised to have not come across them prior to this as this is a very interesting album indeed. This Austrian band are very much from the heavy prog side, and it is no surprise to discover that it is the guitarist, Markus Bratusa, (also vocals, synthesizer, sound design) who is the main songwriter. What was particularly interesting to me is that he is obviously a fan of Meshuggah and djent, although he does treat that medium quite differently indeed.

This is a very melodic, very modern sounding album. While I can see them having commonalities with Threshold, if these guys had been around in the Nineties I am sure that we would also have been pointing towards Mentaur as potential influences, albeit that PHI are more melodic than both. The bass is also incredibly important with this band, strongly backing up the guitar while also going off on musical tangents when the need arises. When they cast away the melodies and vocals and start to really let rip, these guys move solidly away from heavy prog and into prog metal, resulting in an overall sound that will appeal to fans of both sub-genres, as well as those wondering whatever happened to good old fashioned neo prog. Melodic, great songs with a strong production, this feels very much an album for 2018 and has got me wondering what the other material is like. Easy to listen to and thoroughly enjoyable, this is a thoroughly enjoyable romp.

 Waves Over Vienna by PHI album cover Live, 2015
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Waves Over Vienna
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Austrian trio PHI is a self-described post-progressive rock band that was formed ten years ago, and while its first incarnation broke up, a second version arose a few years after and has been steadily developing their craft ever since the release of their debut album "Ghost" in 2011. At this point they have three studio albums and one official EP out, in addition to this live CD+DVD package that was released by Gentle Art of Music in 2015.

As such this album serves as a good introduction to the band, as it does contain material from all of their studio productions, presented and performed in a (mostly) compelling and likable manner. The live DVD is perhaps more of interest to existing fans, but a worthwhile watch even if not shining in moments of brilliance also for others. I'd estimate that fans of bands such as Porcupine Tree and Riverside might be the key audience for this band, and personally, my impression is that Phi is a band with a high enough quality to merit being mentioned in such a context too.

 Now The Waves Of Sound Remain by PHI album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.80 | 23 ratings

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Now The Waves Of Sound Remain
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Austrian band PHI was formed back in 2006, and started making a name for themselves before breaking up a few years later. In 2011 the band reformed, and in their second phase of existence they have developed a style and presence that again have seen them steadily creating a presence for themselves in the contemporary scene. "Now the Waves of Sound Remain" is their third studio album, and was released through the German label Gentle Art of Music in the fall of 2014.

Throw Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Rush and Tool into the blender and season with some touches of The Mars Volta, perhaps with some Riverside too, and you may end up with an end result like this. Well developed and highly enjoyable music, atmospheric-laden and gentle, as well as edgy, feisty and powerful, compelling, sophisticated and also rather quirky at times. Those who enjoy bands that explore the landscapes in the borderlands between progressive rock and progressive metal will most likely be a key audience for Phi and the band's 2014 album "Now the Waves of Sound Remain".

 Now The Waves Of Sound Remain by PHI album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.80 | 23 ratings

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Now The Waves Of Sound Remain
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Phi is a young 3-man band from Austria that call their approach to music "post Progressive Rock." I found myself surprised that I'd not come across this term before. Then the internal quarrels as to what could be meant by this term accompanied my listening to Now The Waves of Sound Remain on progstreaming.com. What impressed me about the band and their music was that instead of sounding retro- or neo-prog, or retro- or neo-classic rock, the band sounds to me like a band of youth expressing themselves in their most heartfelt way. I especially enjoy the way they so unexpectedly and yet effortless incorporate updated LED ZEPPELIN/RUSH sounds and riffs into their songs. They can be indie/alt rock like MEW, they can be proggish like DEVIN TOWNSEND, they can be metal like Led Zep, they can be grungy like ALICE IN CHAINS, they can be Experimental like ANEKDOTEN, and so tight like Rush, but they are so original and unique! And their vocals are so diverse, interesting, and unusual. Everything is so fresh and unexpected. My listening to this album kept flushing me over with wave after wave of excitement and awe similar to when I first heard CREAM, LED ZEPPELIN, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, or PEARL JAM. Supergroups. And PHI is young! I am excited! This band is so creative! So confident! So tight!

This is an excellent album that I want everyone to check out. For now I'm going to give it four stars as I've only listened to it twice so far. But this may end up getting bumped up to masterpiece status--and it may be a top tenner of 2014.

Prog lovers: Check out this album!

 For The Love Of Ghosts by PHI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.60 | 18 ratings

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For The Love Of Ghosts
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Having to categorize and recategorize a particular band a number of times throughout an album can be a good thing. As I listed to Phi's For the Love of Ghosts, it was interesting how the style of music didn't really change, but the big picture, what they were trying to do with their album, with their vision, became clearer and clearer as the album progressed, without there being radical changese in style. The initial grit of the guitars that opens "The Surgical Cut" initially made me think it would just be another rock band, but as the synths begin to flesh out and the turn becomes more melodic and vocal oriented there was something I could really latch onto. Honestly I'm not sure what. The singer's voice is a voice that in another context I could see myself not liking, however it fits perfectly with Phi's sound. It's somewhat somber, not forcing itself at you, but the sort of introspective aspect of it when combined with the composition brings you in and makes it very likeable. I would like to say that Phi seems to avoid having the semblance of pretension. I never get the impression like they're trying to impress you. Indeed, they are not a flashy band, but neither do they come across as one of these hipster bands that thinks they're doing something artistic or innovative, but in reality they just suck at playing music and somehow think that makes them experimental. I would almost at times say that they have a slight prog metal mentality, which seems to become very apparent around the middle of the album; however they are not nearly heavy enough to really be considered metal, in my opinion. What Phi offers is really good songs that are catchy, melodic, and groove great. They're not really worried about being a 'heavy' band, a soft band, an ambitious band, or even a 'proggy' band. Of course, they have elements of all these things in there. With For the Love of Ghosts being a debut, Phi proves themselves to be an already mature band with good potential for growth.
 For The Love Of Ghosts by PHI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.60 | 18 ratings

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For The Love Of Ghosts
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A very good album!

This is Phi, a band from Austria whose music is a clear example of what we call Heavy Prog, they enter without a doubt in the progressive rock realm, with some hints of metal, without being metal itself. Their debut album released in 2011 is entitled "For the Love of Ghosts", which features seven songs that together make a total time of 49 minutes. I would like to thank Olav for introducing this band to me.

"The Surgical Cut, Parts 2-4" extraordinarily opens this album, because they give us ten minutes of powerful, thoughtful music that any band would desire to share. Since the first moments we can appreciate the heavy side of the music, but I insist, it is not progressive metal, not yet. I like how the instruments and the voice are all equal and necessary to the music's success, none of them stands above, they form a good group together. The voice has cadency but at the same time it can be deep, the drums are constant and interesting, guitars and bass give the good rhythm while keyboards produce cool nuances and textures. After 4 minutes the music changes a bit, I assume is a new part. Then it slows down and we can listen to spoken words; then the music is progressing little by little, but in the last two minutes slows down again in order to be rebuilt. Great opening track!

"Departure" starts slowly but after a few seconds it becomes faster and more powerful, the sound here is like a mixture of the heavy side of alternative prog, with of course some progressive rock. The voice here has some effects and sounds great, the bass create nice lines while the guitars are excellent all the time. When it slows down I believe it loses some of its essence, which fortunately returns with the fast and heavy moments. The last couple of minutes are great!

Now the longest composition of the album, with 12 minutes of music "Desire" begins with a heavy pulse since the very first second. They sing "I need to feel this", and they actually make us feel it, I really like the voice and how it together with the music can share emotions to the listener, and that is something I really appreciate from the bands. Here I like a lot the mixture of soft with heavy passages, and how even in the soft ones a heavy guitar appears without harming the sound, so they are very careful. There is a change at minute eight that I like a lot, seems to be a faster song but it isn't, then the music take us to a creative passage, where keyboards put excellent atmospheres that are wonderfully filled by the strings and drums. "I wanna be the flesh, underneath your skin" they say, and the song fades out delicately.

A violin can be listened in "Wintersong", which produces some gentle uncertainty, seconds later the voice appears along with a piano, and then the song is building a structure little by litte; after 1:30 drums and keyboards enter together with a soft guitar and when the voice reappears we can notice a kind of melancholic and regretful sound. Just before the third minute the music explodes and a minute later we can listen to a great guitar riff, and then the voice produces the most emotional tone of the track. "The Illusion (Death is Dead)" is the following track, with strings and drums very reminiscent of King Crimson, then it changes when the voice enters and the music takes us to another place. Cool track!

"The Surgical Cut, Pt. 1" is another long song, reaching the nine-minute mark. It is different than the previous, because it does not show the heavy feeling, it is, on the other hand, a soft track whose progress is slow at least in the first three minutes; then it changes and now the heavy sound is present again. So they created a different beginning, and actually a different body for the song, this is a cool and experimental track that shows their talent as composers, making a fresh heavy prog sound. The album finishes with "Epilogue: For the Love of Ghosts", which happens to be the shortest composition. Acoustic guitar and vocals to say goodbye, nice.

I am happy with Phi's album, which I recommend to fans of the heavy side of progressive rock, and also for metal fans, why not. My final grade will be 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

 For The Love Of Ghosts by PHI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.60 | 18 ratings

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For The Love Of Ghosts
Phi Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Austrian band PHI was formed back in 2006, and in their formative years they became a relatively popular outfit. That initial phase ended in 2009 however, and after a break, incorporating a new musical philosophy with members to boot, the second version of the band hit the studio in 2011 to record their debut album. "For the Love of Ghosts" was the chosen name for this production.

Innovative progressive metal is probably as good a description as anything for the style explored on "For the Love of Ghosts". Traditional progressive metal given a Porcupine Tree inspired makeover, with effective use of contrasting themes and intensity build-ups as central characteristics. Well worth investigating if you're intrigued by a band that attempts to stray outside of the common boundaries of progressive metal yet maintaining an accessible sound.

Thanks to cesar inca for the artist addition.

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