Thiago Desant, known musically as Phantoms vs Fire, is not afraid to push boundaries artistically. He follows the muse wherever she may lead, regardless of how light or dark the road gets along the way. His work is both orchestral and electronic, taking us on both symphonic and glitchy electronic trips.
Since early 2018 Phantoms vs Fire has released three full-length LPs, Swim, WLDLFE, and My Mind As Your Amusement Park. Each album arrived with its own distinctive musical DNA. Touches of John Carpenter, Philip Glass, Bobby Krlic, and even bits of New Order. None locked into a single vibe, and all felt like vast landscapes of neon colors, strange creatures, and a sense of darkness throughout.
On Desant’s latest as Phantoms vs Fire, the aptly titled Modern Monsters, the darkness and fear are splayed out in a sort of aural fever dream. The album stays in the dream world, building soundscapes both Gothic and ethereal. Glitchy drums coalesce with church organs and strings; synthesizers build both modern electronic touches as well as sonic dread. The results are Phantoms vs Fire’s most consistent record in theme and mood, while still retaining a feeling of not knowing what’s coming around the corner.
“We Monsters” opens the album sounding like a waking beast. A synth echoes into the abyss as if a creature is yawning to the morning light. “My Voice Is In My Sword” sounds like part Giallo and part Blade Runner. A mournful suite of synths, harpsichord, and strings build to this dystopian sound. Beautifully constructed melancholy and doom. “Full of Scorpions is My Mind” opens with frantic brass and quickly descends into almost maudlin electronic swirl. Desant’s work here reminds me of the great Wojciech Golczewski’s score work. A grand build up to the end. “The Law” is all glitchy and buzzing synths. Where a lot of heavy synth music tends to feel claustrophobic and dense, Phantoms vs Fire’s work is airy. Even Desant’s most complicated work, while densely-layered and complex, never weighs the ears down. There’s a buoyancy in his work.
With the music of Thiago Desant there’s never a clear path. No matter where you think a song will go, it will swerve in the opposite direction. Something like “Breaking In” starts out like a dark horror score synth track, but then switches gears into this mammoth orchestral piece. Part It Follows, part Shaolin and Wu Tang. From “The Nameless City” to “Fair is Foul And Foul is Fair” to “Necronomicon” Modern Monsters tells a musical tale both intimate and grandiose, sometimes in the same song.
Phantoms vs Fire’s Modern Monsters continues Thiago Desant’s impeccable streak. This is another stunning addition to his discography. He captures both beauty and beast on this record, incorporating buzzing synths and symphonic dread like a master of his trade. Modern Monsters is a heady trip into the artist’s mind, showing us the good, bad, and in-between. There’s a monster in us all, and Phantoms vs Fire works eloquently with his.
8.1 out of 10
Phantoms vs Fire is currently crowdsourcing in order to get a 100 copies of Modern Monsters pressed to vinyl. If vinyl is your thing, then you should definitely head over and preorder a copy of this album on wax. In order to do that, head over to here and lay some green on the counter.