Singer/guitarist Shane Ochsner builds on the strengths of his former band Hands with a clear-eyed confidence. Phoenix picks up on the atmospheric textures and soul-bearing content that made the final Hands album, Give Me Rest, so memorable. Going further, Ochsner surrounds his yearning confessions with an expansive sound that contrasts post-rock drones with startling dynamic shifts. Anyone familiar with typical Christian metalcore will be struck by the sheer visceral honesty evident in tracks like “The Fool,” “Come Down," and “Speak” (the latter featuring Christian Lindskog of Blindside). Desperate prayers and lamentations are interwoven with dreamily contemplative moments, delivered with an unusually effective blend of harsh and clean vocals. Slowly unfolding songs like “Most Days” (an unflinching look at addiction) set up the listener for raw-throated testimonials to God’s majesty like “You Are.” The hymnlike closing track, “Promixa”—featuring the angelic voice of singer/songwriter Holly Ann—rises from a luminous murmur to a sonic tidal wave that carries home the album’s message of surrender and devotion.

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