Release DetailsLABEL Osmose Productions
RELEASED ON 10/19/2004
Hate At First Seed
posted on 10/2004 By:
From what I'm able to piece together, Phazm is a four piece French band containing members of Scarve, I believe. Apparently they've only been together since 2003 and were almost immediately picked up by Osmose. The biography on the website ends with "it won't take long before your ears are filled with resin", a statement that makes even less sense once you've heard the band.
Phazm play black/death metal with underlying Scandinavian guitar melodies, while leaning towards slower passages. Far more black metal musically, the heavy vocals and thick production suggest a concrete nod towards death metal. Phazm's vocalist has sort of an unenthusiastic and throaty style of singing that he combines with the standard layered black metal screams you're used to hearing from well-produced acts. Although the first track comes across as completely straightforward, suddenly things change on "What A Wonderful Death", mixing elements of extreme black metal and....detuned rock n' roll. Yeah. Detuned rock n' roll. Hence them being toted as "black n' roll". The result is surprisingly graspable, causing me to raise an eyebrow and actually turn up the volume a little. Can you imagine if Myrkskog added a slide guitar part? Satyricon adding a sudden crustcore drumbeat? While Hate At First Seed isn't completely flooded with these idiosyncracies, they do make a steady appearance and lend themselves to the band, allowing them to leave more of an impact on the listener through their unorthodox means.
When they're not tooling around with odd influences, they sound like something that belongs on Nocturnal Art Productions. They shift back and forth from down tempo, ominous parts, back to skin-shredding, crushing, fast black metal. Slow and epic, "Resinous Balm" reminds me of something Khold might've written if they had any sort of creative power. "Flesh Back", a Swedish black/thrash song, outshines the rest with its potent display of strong songwriting meshed with extremity. Phazm provides a wide array of black metal styles without giving the impression that they don't know what they're doing. One of the bigger highlights of the album is the final track "Crossroads", which sounds like it's a cover of The Crown or something. Whether or not it's even an original, it sounds radically different than the rest of the album, with a typical heavy metal drumbeat and a NWOBHM guitar solo, ending on a Donald Duck squawk.
If I had to complain, I'd bring up the fact that the songs are rather lengthy and aren't able to hold my attention. They're well crafted songs with enough talent and interesting harmonies, but it begins to wear thin and drag along, no matter how fast of a blastbeat they break into. That aside, I have very little complaint with the album as a whole, although I can't say it's a heartstopping release. At the risk of sounding too experimental like some sort of black metal Mr. Bungle, I'd love to hear Phazm develop further by incorporating more of the things that made Hate At First Seed actually interesting. As it stands though, Phazm play what they play and play it well.
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