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Discover Deep Elm

01. Still
02. When Fat Pigs Fly
03. Straight Lines For Construction Workers
04. Making Zealots
05. When I Get The Feelin' (Back In My Hands)
06. The Day After Yesterday
07. Mouse
08. And So It Begins With Bombs
09. Gattaca
10. Photel California  
11. Jambalaya
12. Right Now, Today, I Don't Believe In Hell

Bonus (Deep Elm Digital only): Wallpaper
Rich with innovation, intensity and complex songwriting, Black Phantom Crusades represents a flawless mixture of art and math. Unpredictable and aggressive yet never out of control, Rad Aniamal War pulls, screams and claws at the heart of guitar-driven rock as if they had just one last chance to save it. Multi-layered patchworks of instrumentation, intricate start-stop dynamics and sharply written melodies characterize the somehow seamless flow of each song on this amazing sophomore release. Wrapped with smart lyrics that venture far beyond the domain of broken hearts, lead singer Justin Wilson understands that words can hit as hard as any instrument. The rhythm section is so driving and the guitar play so tricky. Whether the power of Black Phantom Crusades comes from its creativity, its vast depth of dynamics, its technical skill or its incredible performance, Red Animal War comes out on top...swinging, invincible and hard-hitting as ever. This is a tremendous accomplishment, a victory to say the least. It's that good, maybe even better. (DER-419)



"Ever wonder what Jawbox would have sounded like had they lasted to their sixth or seventh album? Red Animal War's 'Black Phantom Crusades' may yield a safe guesstimate to such a query. In all seriousness, Red Animal War aren't that derivative. Even so, I'll be darned if they don't espouse a healthy dollop of that band's challenging instrumental interplay and tightly-would dissonance, and if Justin Wilson isn't a dead ringer for J. Robbins, I don't know who is. Matt Pittman and Wilson's clamorous dueling-guitars almost take a backseat to Brian Pho's incisively clangy bass-lines, to wonderful effect, particularly on Mouse, amid other moments of brilliance, including When Fat Pigs Fly and When I Get The Feeling. Whether Red Animal War realizes it or not, they've filled a gap, while raising the bar in the post-hardcore sweepstakes to boot." - Big Takeover

"Red Animal War continue to defy expectations. With Black Phantom Crusades, their cautious blend of Jawbox-ism, wire-y guitar grinds, jazz-influenced chords and lyrical bitterness has hurled them straight out of any indie rock genre stereotype. How this band mastered a sound so creative, so angular yet warm, and so technical yet reckless in just two records is beyond me. One thing's for sure; Red Animal War have become Deep Elm's premier act. Black Phantom Crusades is not only the label's most unique offering to date, it's a victory in the often-regurgitated indie rock battlefield." - Lollipop

"Black Phantom Crusades from Red Animal War is a massive album that rides on waves of shimmering D.C. - influenced guitar, impassioned vocals and powerful, complex melodies. It's political without being pedantic and aggressive without being pushy. Genre-splicing is hinted at but never fully exposed, like some mutant that resides in the dirty back room. Every song is fully realized and polished without losing its energy or drive, never stumbling over its complex rhythmic structures. Standout tracks like Straight Lines For Construction Workers are tight and catchy, furious in demeanor and calculated in execution. What sets Black Phantom Crusades apart is its clarity, both in its production and palatably self-righteous disposition. Excellent mood-driven post-punk from Red Animal War, this is definitely worth checking out." - Shredding Paper

"Red Animal War is in a really big hurry to show the indie rock world that they're taking over. Very rarely does an album come along that exhausts my vocabulary of positive adjectives, but Black Phantom Crusades truly offers so much. It has some of the most compelling technical songwriting, decorous melodies that make each song better with each listen, unsurpassable lyrics and the studio quality...oh the studio quality! It may be the finest thing ever released on Deep Elm Records. It took more than ten listens for me to pick out a favorite song, but I finally settled on Gattaca. Great song, even better of the highlights of the year." - Punk International

"If good indie bands were measured by the strangled, excruciating and laborious self-doubting and soul-searching confessions that they deliver, Red Animal War is probably a close second to Cursive. If the lynch pin of an outstanding indie band is to transcend genre and deliver choking intensity, ferocious rhythms, and boggling technical skill and dynamics, Red Animal War may still be a close second to Cursive. The galloping guitar part on When I Get The Feelin' reminds me that not since Such Blinding Stars For Starving Eyes has my stomach taken the elevator to the bottom floor with such unapologetic speed. Justin Wilson belts out every word with a compulsion for throat shredding, and his message drops like a ton of bricks. The band stays on the razors edge for Mouse, with nibble bass lines, menacing guitar palming and a jazzy guitar bridge that somehow ties the airtight chorus to the rest of the song. If you are looking for schizophrenic and complex guitar work, reckless but airtight rhythms, seize and choke vocals, and above all a record by which others will be measured in the future, Black Phantom Crusades is a pretty safe bet." - Bettawreckonize

"In no less than ten minutes of listening to Black Phantom Crusades, I was fully convinced that I was listening to one of the most intriguing pieces of music that I have ever heard. Red Animal War has grown by leaps and bounds. Planted somewhere in the indie rock meets emocore soundscape, Black Phantom Crusades seems so well conceived that it deserves to sit high and mighty above all other standards. Intensely passionate, poetic lyrics lead the thought-bending charge, and a systematically gripping urgency overflows from the music, mainly from furious percussion and vocals that burden each word with great weight. The last time a band hit me like this was Hot Water Music, and I think both bands are strong compliments. In terms of sound quality, I'm beyond thrilled with the level of hi-fidelity shown here. Everything sounds so clear and powerful. The drumming is phenomenal and definitely helps drive certain songs from becoming merely solid, to truly stand-out. Although Deep Elm Records has always been a very consistent label, Black Phantom Crusades is one of those rare gems that just sits at the peak of a label's history. Don't miss out on this forty-five minute battle of intense darkness." - Pastepunk

"Red Animal War has created a masterpiece and released their best work to date, Black Phantom Crusades. This band can teach others what it means to take it to the next level. This album shines with passionate and powerful lyrics that are both poetic and political. Bridging a gap between the indie and post worlds, Red Animal War do a great job of mixing rawness and innovation. A powerful and unforgettable release." - United Front

"Red Animal War have created a powerful follow up in Black Phantom Crusades. Rich in activity, raw vocals spat with pure urgency over an influx of tangled guitars and a frantic beat coupled with the occasional calming, strummed interlude. Angular melodies, beautifully harmonized thick, deep vocals make Red Animal War a sure-fire candidate for your record collection. Black Phantom Crusades can get as dark as it suggests, so if you're looking for an album to get your brain fluids searing back and forth, I can't recommend this one enough." - Rock Sound

"Listening to Black Phantom Crusades is like listening to something irrefutably new...original, with a capital 'O.' From the dark opening track through raucous, explosive songs like Making Zealots and straightforward rock efforts such as The Day After Yesterday, this album oozes quality from every precisely placed chord. Red Animal War punch like a machine gun, never letting up for more than a couple of seconds, and when they do let up it's only so they can hit you harder the next moment. This is intricate, well-crafted and deeply layered. After listening to this album a few times I knew I'd heard the best Deep Elm release of the year. Red Animal War deserve to be massive, and those interested in post-hardcore infused rock will be blown away." - Collective

"On Black Phantom Crusades hints of Washington, D.C.-style hardcore pop up frequently in the dissonance and jerky, anti-funk rhythms, while Justin Wilson's laconic, speak-sing vocals narrate safaris into polyrhythmic land, and random xylophones, Southern blues licks and whacked-out time changes pounce like lions on your preconceptions." - Syracuse New Times

"Black Phantom Crusades finds Red Animal War focusing a discerning eye on politics, religion, class struggle and personal relationships, fighting the lure of what prevails in our society to form their own interpretations, arriving at a sort of saccharine-free, yet hope-filled ideology. Musically, they slide unfettered from controlled and steady rock to schizophrenic shakedowns in which the band alters style and tempo. Jambalaya pops and sizzles like andouille sausage in a piping-hot pan with pulsating rhythm, frenetic riffing, chiming harmonics and seething vocals. Straight Lines For Construction Workers is a stylistic curve ball that joins a minimalist character sketch of a down-and-out laborer with an unexpected jolt from a group of saxophones. Mouse begins frantically, all muted string scrapes, swift bass runs and battered drums, only to collect into an eddy of clean, bluesy guitar at that begins a sedate stretch that houses the resonant lyric, 'If fear is the only thing that you bring, change that to be love instead.' I found Red Animal War's brand of rock to be challenging, varied and unique, and Black Phantom Crusades is another satisfying offering from a label that has become a beacon in the ever-expanding sea of independent emo and other like-minded rock forms." - Ear Pollution

"Black Phantom Crusades is driving power-emo mixed with hard rock and jam-packed with interesting changes, builds, breakdowns, stop / start dynamics and found sound. Red Animal War has an especially good guitarist, and the band's heart is in the right place." - Punk Planet

"Red Animal War have continually impressed me with every release they've produced, and the icing on the cake is the awesome Black Phantom Crusades. The band blurs the line between indie and raw, powerful melodic rock. Opening with the moody Still, Red Animal War lay down the powerful emotive foundations for what is forty-five minutes of incredible rock. When Fat Pigs Fly crashes in on the party with the urgency we use to get from Jawbreaker, even using an xylophone midway through as things slow down before finishing with the same urgency that they opened with. I really can't say enough about this album; it's been on rotation here at Pee all day! Black Phantom Crusades is fresh and very original, with great use of everything from a saxophone to a piano, not to mention the thought provoking lyrics that don't pretend to paint a pretty picture of the state of the world today. I urge you to wrap your ears around this album." - Pee

"The pieces on Black Phantom Crusades are grand in scope and sweeping in nature. I've liked previous Red Animal War outings alot, but this album is simply head and shoulders above the rest. Not unlike label mates The Appleseed Cast, these boys are out to play music..Period. Including sax, xylophone or piano, these songs are fully orchestrated. If a song calls for a little extra, the requisite fix is acquired. This album is a collection of complete thoughts and full expression. Pretty? Sometimes. Frightening? That, too. Utterly awe-inspiring? Yeah. Red Animal War has always been awfully damn good. The boys just put together their first truly great recording. Do not miss...emo for rock gods." - Aiding And Abetting

"If I had to pick the most technical indie band these days, my choice would go to Red Animal War. Black Phantom Crusades has catchy rhythms filled with amazing guitar and bass riffs, drums and most of all, Justin Wilson's vocals. The way he sings is unbelievable. There are soft whispered words mixed with angry parts almost screamed. There is plenty of experimentation too, with instruments like piano, saxophone and even a xylophone. Red Animal War cannot be labeled, except by the word 'talent.' Recommended if you love music." - Truepunk

"Black Phantom Crusades from Red Animal War has the band experimenting much more, showing how they have grown musically. Songs like Mouse and Jambalaya take on a new style with a rock influence. Others like When I Get The Feeling use piano to make things interesting, and Straight Lines For Construction Worker even uses horns, which is unexpected but quite effective. The one definite similarity between the last album and this one is very poetic and original lyrics. From topics about death and hopelessness to political lyrics about war and religion, Black Phantom Crusades is sure to catch the interest of anyone who appreciates smart writing. Pick this album up..." - Decoy