Phantom Glue come into focus

Cellars by Starlight
By REYAN ALI  |  January 23, 2013


That monster looming over Old South Church was only the beginning. On the cover of Phantom Glue's self-titled 2010 release, a gigantic, satyr-style beast lurks around a gray Boston, with the Copley Square house of worship standing in the foreground — still undisturbed, if only momentarily. Glue vocalist/guitarist Matt Oates designed that scene's art and calls it "sort of a dystopic, inverted, historical, psychedelic nightmare." Based on the sparse details he provides about A War of Light Cones (due via Black Market Activities soon), we can expect yet weirder images from the four-piece and their sludgy, distortion-soaked metal.

A War of Light Cones involves the Founding Fathers experiencing an alternate, psychedelicized reality where anything they meet could be a horror. "It's just creating a history that is a different one than the mainstream history," the 38-year-old Oates says. "In a way, you take the idea of colonial charters and morph them into things like, 'What are they bringing back to the crown?' It could be weird, magical things. It's not meant to be a positive thing. It's like a nightmarish history in a way."

Variations of "nightmarish" and "psychedelic" come up repeatedly as Oates describes his band's work — which makes sense, given that Phantom Glue trace their roots back to Slayer, the Jesus Lizard, and cult post-hardcore act KARP. After coming up in punk and hardcore outfits, Oates was deep into metal when his stint in Hydrahead Records' the Never Never began steering him in another direction. "Towards the end of that band, I started to get into Deep Purple — proto-metal, '70 metal. It was not as intense as Emperor or something today, but it was just heavy," Oates says. "We broke up, and that idea stuck with me for current projects."

Formerly called Angels of Meth, Phantom Glue's tangled history dates back to the early 2000s; they once practiced in a now-condemned "mildew sweatbox." Nowadays, they share a nicer-sounding North Beacon Street space with Doomriders, Whitey, and Zozobra, and are, by all indications, still on the come-up. Since they recorded A War of Light Cones with Converge guitarist/GodCity Studio chief Kurt Ballou around a year ago, they're wading through newer material. The freshest stuff isn't anchored in another high concept (yet), but knowing what Oates digs about aggressive music, a thoughtful surprise should pop up. "If you listen to [aggressive music] more and more, you hear the nuances and you develop an ear for that," he says. "It's more sophisticated than people think. I kind of like the idea that it is looked at as less sophisticated in a way. It's a nice relief from some things."


PHANTOM GLUE + HIVESMASHER + LUNGLUST + QUIET HANDS:: Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston :: January 24 @ 9 pm :: 18+ :: $8 :: 617.566.9014 or

  Topics: Music Features , Music, local, Phantom Glue
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