There are very few artists working today quite like Thiago Desant, aka Phantoms vs Fire. His music is informed just as much by his visual aesthetic as his musical aesthetic. When you start out your creative ventures as a graphic designer I feel it allows your musical creativity to bloom in a completely different and profound way. The darker aspects are darker, while the brighter aspects go even brighter. Musically, Phantoms vs Fire has always popped in my ears. An almost 3D aspect lives within the music; songs form in front of your eyes and appear ghostly and translucent. Synth pop, ambient, drone, and horror scores float by as effortlessly as I imagine a paint brush touching canvas in Desant’s studio. A Phantoms vs Fire album is a feast for the senses.
Last fall Phantoms vs Fire released Modern Monsters, an album that combined the beauty and darkness in Desant’s work effortlessly. Now via Blackjack Illuminist Records PvF is releasing Modern Monsters I & II, a sort of extended version of what came before. Instead of releasing another standalone album in that vein, Desant has given us an extended journey into the world of Modern Monsters. A 19-track behemoth of an album that gives us more Phantoms vs Fire, more twists and turns, and more dark beauty.
So this is what I said about Modern Monsters back in October 2019, “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.”
There’s not much more I can add here. This expanded version, according to Blackjack Illuminist is “restructured and expanded to a 19-track album.” The continuity here is flawless. The pieces added lock into what came before as if they’ve alway been there. Stunning sonic jumps from ethereal beauty to buzzsaw grind; radio-friendly synth pop to avante garde noise excursions. All we’ve come to love about a Phantoms vs Fire album journey is here in exquisite form.
Modern Monsters I & II is a walk through a haunted maze with ghosts around every perfectly placed wall of foliage. Not to scare you, though. They’re simply there to show you a world you didn’t know existed. A world of hazy synths, shimmering orchestral pieces, and wandering, eerie melodies that shade you in midnight aura. Phantoms vs Fire unlocks the door to yet another engaging, ethereal sonic world. You need only to step in, and close the door behind you.
Modern Monsters I & II is available now thru Blackjack Illuminist Records. Pick from CD, cassette, or digital versions here.