A bit if a mouthful for a band name, The Agnostic-Phibes Rhythm & Blood Conspiracy is a wedding of sorts of Canadian garage punk rocker Jackson Phibes (of Forbidden Dimension) and members of the rockin’ and rootsy combo Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir. A collaboration that combines elements of Phibes’ fascination with pulp shock and the Choir’s scattergun bluegrass together they create an unholy mess that howls at the moon and sends shivers up the spine.
With twelve songs that are primal, primeval and soaked in voodoo menace, guitars slide and moan, fuzzed and slashed while the rhythm section batters away like men on fire. The electrifying guitar that opens the first track, A Match To The Kindling sounds like Neil Young meets Duane Eddy before the band chug into the title song, a perfect introduction to the delights contained herein. They invite you to sit by the campfire and listen to tales of “ mad trappers and severed heads bouncing down the stair, hippie baby sitters and spider eggs in your hair.” Shiveringly good and delivered in a classic cowboy song gone weird fashion it’s a tremendous opener. There’s even some shades of The Shadows in there.
Having set the scene we’re treated to an aural equivalent of an all night B-movie gore fest as we hear about the wolfman of Budapest, speed down an endless highway pursued by a Windago spirit and go on a booze fuelled night of lust and murder.
The dual guitar duelling of Phibes (on electric) and Bob Keelaghan (acoustic) spark and flare throughout the album and the overall impression is of going for a ride in a fairground Ghost Train that has a really cool soundtrack. If Robert Rodriguez is looking for some sounds for a follow up for From Dusk To Dawn then he need look no further.