Official Site for the Hellbilly Cowpunk Music Outlaws

Reviews

“Moonshine Bright” Reviewed On No Depression

Review of Moonshine Bright on No Depression, read it online HERE:

Moonshine_cover_final_sm“Phantom of the Black Hills, one of the outlaw music scene’s favorite bands of renegade pickers, stummers, pluckers and bangers, is back with a new album on Ratchet Blade Records, Moonshine Bright. Continuing to terrorize the musical wagon trail of the current roots revival with their sound of doom country, frontier-core, and hellbilly punk, Phantom of the Black Hills’ most recent collection of songs is as powerful and violent as the fiery blast of an old blunderbuss, with each deadly projectile hitting a different mark.

Throughout Moonshine Bright, Phantom of the Black Hills lays down some mean distorted chords, plenty of pickin’ and strummin’, hillbilly fiddin’, strong drums, and gritty outlaw vocals. The opening song, which is also the title track, is as dirty and intoxicating and homegrown as the contents of the musical barrel in which it was distilled. “Hellbetties Risin’,” the first single from Moonshine Brightand a raw cowpunk offering with male and female vocals, is as sharp as the edge of a boot knife. “In Hell” is a lawbreaker anthem which rides like hell for the horizon, loot in hand, putting some distance between oneself and the hangman’s noose, yet knowing full well that, when the time comes, hell will be one’s ultimate destination. “The Storm is my Shelter” is about as close to traditional country music as this band gets, but it is still pretty far removed from the purist idea of the genre, which is decidedly a good thing. The closer, “A Life for an Eye,” is a little different from the rest of the album in that it is garagey roots rock and dark country punk hybrid.

Moonshine Bright by Phantom of the Black Hills is available from the Ratchet Blade Records webstore here.”


Great Review of “Moonshine Bright” in Ox Zine

Another great review of Moonshine Bright in the German magazine Ox Zine, pick up issue #118 for the review:

Name-dropping galore in the Press Release: this record was produced by the Cramps late bassist Chopper Franklin and the Moonshine cover final 1 smmastering was done by Geza X  (the former producer of the Dead Kennedys and Black Flag. “Moonshine Bright” is album number five for the masked Hellbilly / Doom-country band from the USA. The genre style comes from the band itself, they blend a lively mix of styles from Southern Rock, punk, Alternative Country and a B-movie atmosphere. All in all it’s difficult to categorize: it is powerful, fully instrumented (supplemented by the classic country instruments: banjo, mandolin and violin), gloomy, aggressive and melodic. Bluegrass fiends will love the fast mandolin and banjo sections the best, and inevitably the rapid playing of Split Lip Rayfield comes to mind. But the again the next moment is a distorted guitar and the sound kicks into gloomy Rob Zombie to realms. The whole thing is exciting and is expected to attract fans of 16 Horsepower, Hank Williams III, The Meat Purveyors (and rockabilly and bluegrass in general) my equally much. 7 of 10 stars.

Christian Kruger
Ox Zine



“Moonshine Bright” 4 Star Review in Dynamite

The new POTBH album Moonshine Bright received a 4 star review in the German magazine Dynamite:

Moonshine cover final 1 smThe Black Hills are a mountain range in South Dakota, including Mount Rushmore with its four presidential heads. The Black Hills is also an area that is populated by rednecks and in which the illegal production of alcohol, the so-called moonshine, is still widespread even today. At the same there time is widespread scepticism of all government, and many see themselves as outlaws and the demand for stricter gun control laws in this area is not being heard. The Phantom of the Black Hills provide their new album “Moonshine Bright” as the appropriate soundtrack. Traditional country, blitzkrieg guitars and distorted vocals take on violin, banjo and mandolin. The result of this mixture are ten dark and wild, masterfully produced by Cramps Bassist Chopper Franklin, songs about the dark side of life. Great!

 


Four Star Review of “Moonshine Bright”

Moonshine_cover_final_smThe new Chopper Franklin produced Phantom of the Black Hills album Moonshine Bright has been reviewed by The Examiner, it received 4 of 5 stars:

Phantom of the Black Hills, one of the outlaw music scene’s favorite bands of renegade pickers, stummers, pluckers and bangers, is back with a new album on Ratchet Blade Records, Moonshine Bright. Continuing to terrorize the musical wagon trail of the current roots revival with their signature sound of doom country, frontier-core and hellbilly punk, Phantom of the Black Hills’ most recent collection of songs is as powerful and violent as the fiery blast of an old blunderbuss, with each deadly projectile hitting a different mark.

Throughout Moonshine Bright Phantom of the Black Hills lay down some mean distorted chords, plenty of pickin’ and strummin’, hillbilly fiddin’, strong drums, and gritty outlaw vocals. The opening song, which is also the title track, is as dirty and intoxicating and homegrown as the contents of the musical barrel in which it was distilled. “Hellbetties Risin’,” the first single from Moonshine Bright, is a raw cowpunk offering with male and female vocals, is as sharp as the edge of a boot knife. “In Hell” takes a lawbreaker anthem which rides like hell for the horizon, loot in hand, putting some distance between oneself and the hangman’s noose, yet knowing full well that when the times comes hell will be one’s ultimate destination. “The Storm is my Shelter” is about as close to traditional country music as Phantom of the Black Hills get, but it is still pretty far removed from the purist idea of the genre, which is decidedly a good thing. The closer, “A Life for an Eye,” is a little different from the rest of the album in that it is garagey roots rock and dark country punk hybrid.

Moonshine Bright by Phantom of the Black Hills is available from the Ratchet Blade Records webstore here.

by James G. Carlson
The Examiner

read the review online by clicking HERE


ENEMY! Reviewed by ReGen Magazine

Phantom of the Black Hills - Enemy!

Phantom of the Black Hills
Category: Country / Rock / Experimental
Album: Enemy!
Stars: 3.5 of 4
Blurb: A delightfully scathing and exploratory mix of underground punk and industrial elements with a classic southern rock and country vibe.
There was once a time when country and southern rock was part of the counterculture, quick to espouse a sociopolitical viewpoint opposite to that of the status quo. While the mainstream sensibilities of the genre have overtime gravitated toward a less incendiary outlook, a band like Phantom of the Black Hills comes along to give the style a firm kick in the arse with a raucous sound and image that is sure to attract a more adventurous audience. Indeed, to even look at the band adorned in bandana masks and Stetson hats, brandishing bottles of booze, pistols, and their instruments, one could draw comparisons to some bluegrass derivation of Slipknot. Thankfully, Phantom of the Black Hills comes across as less comical, though the music is not devoid of anger and abrasion with a fair share of whimsy. “Battle Cry” begins the album with guns blazing, a whooshing electronic wind leading into the sound of fiddles and banjos meshing with the grittily distorted guitars, The Phantom shouting out his rebellious lyrics in a style immediately reminiscent of Chemlab’s Jared Louche. The rest of the album follows suit with a firmly anti-establishment vibe permeating throughout, with lyrics like “You think you’re fit to go to war? Can’t even figure out which way to point the sword” on the title track, “If it’s law don’t make it right” on “If Hell’s Where I Have to Be,” and the abundance of politically charged samples on “Evil Dove.” Other songs like “Bled for No Reason,” “Read My Bible,” and “One Per Sinner” also convey a lyrical predilection against war and hypocrisy, while the music maintains a steady rock pace from beginning to end, each instrument given its moment to shine. Produced by Chopper Franklin of the Cramps and mixed by Geza X, whose credits include the likes of Dead Kennedys and Black Flag, Phantom of the Black Hills’ third album is a surprisingly innovative album. Eschewing the clean cut conventions of modern country, Enemy! is raucous and rambunctious from start to finish; the product of a band firmly planted in its southern roots but with a gutturally mechanical vibe that should appeal to rivetheads, revealing an exploratory spirit that should appeal to more underground tastes.


ENEMY! Reviewed in UBER ROCK

Phantom Of The Black Hills – ‘Enemy’ (Ratchet Blade Records)
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E

You remember how it was when you were a rock kid buying albums with your pocket money, selecting which ones were gonna go home with you purely on their cover art, generally finding out that they sucked all kinds of arse? Well, as the years have gone by, it usually works the other way: I look at an album cover now, sigh, and think of how much time I will waste listening to what lies inside and then trying to write something worthwhile about it, sometimes finding an unlikely gem.

Kinda happened that way with ‘Enemy’, the third album from the mysterious Phantom of the Black Hills.

Masked figures being lynched on the front cover, masked men holding banjos and big fucking knives on the back – this was going to be one of those 45 minutes that I wasn’t going to get back in a hurry, I guessed……but I guessed wrong.

With no clue as to who is actually behind the masks – I’d guess that the band is made up of the members of various other bands but I couldn’t (be arsed to) find out who on the ol’ interweb – I had no clue what to expect when I slipped the disc into my death deck; another of those ‘comedic’ stabs at a country album by someone who should know better was at the top of my list. Thankfully I was wrong again, way wrong.

‘Battle Cry’ opens the album and does exactly what it says on the tin. The Phantom is described as a hellbilly/doom country band and that’s exactly what I got….and a fine example of that curious genre chimera at that. There’s a whiff of the more cinematic moments of Rob Zombie’s newer solo material about the vocals, some Al Jourgensen too, before you remember that Al actually turned in his own attempt at this genre around a year ago; that album by Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters a bit of a mess, truth be told. ‘Enemy’ blows it away, sharp, rather than shit, shooter style.

The follow-up to 2010’s ‘Born To Gun’ album, itself following 2009’s ‘Ghosts’, ‘Enemy’ was produced by Cramps bassist Chopper Franklin and mixed by legendary punk producer Geza X (Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, The Germs), having me thinking once again that these mystery men are players in more than just the doom countryside. But I digress, it mattering little anyway – this is a great album; filthy of tongue, keenly-produced, and hugely impressive.

The album’s dirty dozen tracks fly by, making a mockery of its running time. From the aforementioned opener to ‘Read My Bible’, the album’s closing track, The Phantom and his bad pack mix traditional country instruments – the banjo, fiddle and mandolin, the secretive press release informing me, pushed more to the front than on the album’s predecessors – with distorted guitar and vocals, this album seemingly leaning more heavily on samples and loops: many prime examples of hard-hitting, controversial dialogue permeating the raw, rusty sounds of the record. “Violence is as American as apple pie” – yes, that’s a quote that we’ve heard many times before but here…it just seems right, a tight fit.

Whoever they really are, Phantom of the Black Hills cuts the throat of convention and bleeds out an album cooler than the blade of their frontman’s impressive weapon. The penultimate song on the album is ‘Call Your Bluff’ – sums it up really.

Read the review on the UBER ROCK site by clicking HERE


ENEMY! Gets 9 Star Review in Ox-Fanzine (Germany)

Finally, a band from that stands out from the musical pabulum: PHANTOM OF THE BLACK HILLS are in a separate category that really speaks for them. There are some musicians that go in a similar direction  (Hellbilly or Doom Country) such as Hank III and ASSJACK, Hipbone Slim or in the broadest sense Bob Wayne. The CRAMPS have already proved in the Seventies what depth this kind of sound can have. You can hear the CRAMPS in the PHANTOM OF THE BLACK HILLS, which is probably because the album was produced by their ex-bassist Chopper Franklin and mixed by punk legend Geza X (DEAD KENNEDYS, BLACK FLAG etc.). The special feature is the Phantom’s especially brutal use of fiddle and banjo, which is reinforced by striking guitar riffs and very critical lyrics. Overall, the result is a brutal, varied album, suitable for both line dancing as well as the Pogo. (9 stars) Igor Eberhard, Ox-Fanzine, Germany


“ENEMY!” Reviewed in New Edition

New Edition (Sweden) has published this review of the new Phantom of the Black Hills album ENEMY!:

 

 

 

 

 

Phantom Of The Black Hills – ENEMY!
Ratchet Blade Records

     Wow. After 2 great albums that sound like nothing I’ve heard before (doom country), along comes the third album that sounds a little different because the country influences has moved forward some in the overall sound. The big difference is that banjo, mandolin and fiddle take more space and I really like that. The mean sounding guitar and the hard driving bass are still there and they make this bands still sound like one of a kind.
   All that along with lyrics that could have been written by an angry Hank Williams if he still was alive today, and with vocals that for some reason  reminds me of Hasil Adkins, they have an unbeatable mixture. With this they have a formula that no other band has come close to finding. If this album gets some wide circulation my guess is that there will be other bands trying this formula.
    It´s an album that is hard, brutal and beautiful at the same time, a rock´n´roll answer for the Sam Peckinpah movie The Wild Bunch. Buy buy buy.

Jan Falk
New Edition

ENEMY! Reviewed on PoDunk Radio

Phantom of the Black Hills – Enemy – Ratchet Blade Records

Okay, so they’ve spent 2 years working on it. That’s a helluva long time to work on an album. Was it worth the wait? You bet your fur covered asshole it was! The guitars are as hard and brutal as ever, the banjos, mandolins, and fiddles have become much more prominent players in this album compared to the previous two; Ghosts – 2009, and Born to Gun – 2010.

The first two albums must’ve been dress rehearsals for this release. it’s like the Phantom & the boys (Popeye, Doc Helliday, & Deacon) picked up new quills dipped in blood to pen this new album. Lyrically more dark and intense than the previous two releases Enemy is filled with musical imagery or war, lust, death, and hell. Produced by Chopper Franklin [Bassist, the Cramps] and mixed by the legend himself Geza X [Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, The Germs, The Mau Maus]. For me this was a much anticipated release. From “Battle Cry” through to the closing track “Read My Bible” I get the impression this album has James Dickey grinning in his grave. The arrangement of the music is flawless, the lyrics are controversial as ever and I fucking love this album, just hope they don’t take two more years for the next one…. or maybe the wait will once again be well worth it.

Read the Review at PoDunk Radio HERE