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Review: Phazm - Hate At First Seed
Hate At First Seed

Label: Osmose Productions
Year released: 2004
Duration: 42:43
Tracks: 9
Genre: Doom/Death

Rating: 4/5

Review online: April 3, 2005
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Readers Rating
Hate At First Seed

Rated 3.2/5 (64%) (5 Votes)

Well, consider me surprised. Phazm, on the surface, would appear to be another generic modern metal band with absolutely nothing to distinguish them from the horde of overproduced snoozers. However, it turns out they've managed to successfully fuse death metal violence with a large dose of traditional doom metal. By which, I mean the direct descendants of Black Sabbath – bluesy, swinging and darker than the inside of a coal-bucket on a new moon. Admittedly, the two are usually kept fairly separate, blast-beats alternating with the slow, crushing bits, but occasionally they'll mix things up a bit to great effect. There's also a fair whack of newer Darkthrone in their sound, filthy beer-can Hellhammer riffs and straightforward drumming taking over almost entirely at the end of "What A Wonderful Death". That's not to say this is black metal, since it lacks the atmosphere for that, but it's definitely rooted in the traditions of early-80's satanic metal.

Another oddity is the band's lyrical concept – this essentially involves vegetation taking anthropomorphic form and attacking humans. This theme runs throughout the entire album, with the obvious exception of the closing Motorhead cover "Dogs". Vocals are mostly a hoarse rasp, neither a death growl nor a black metal shriek – quite different to the norm, but it fits the style quite effectively. The songwriting mostly sticks to the same structure, although the oddity that is "Forest Recipe" sticks out like a sore thumb.

This is a good one to check out if you're looking for something with a bit of "groove" which manages to avoid monotony. It'll appeal to fans of gritty stoner doom as much as it will to avid death metal freaks (well, not so much for admirers of technicality, but if you get a kick out of slow, sick stuff like Asphyx and Obituary, you'll love it). Bonus points for the raw, natural production job too. It would have been all too easy for them to conform to Osmose's usual scooped-to-hell digital sterility, but they avoided that in favour of a warm, fuzzy mix which benefits their style a hell of a lot more. Watch out for those trees!

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