It didn't take
long before this obscure French act got signed by Osmose; born in 2003,
after just some months they released their one first 3-track demo, they
migrated to Danish plains in order to record this full-length with producer
Jacob Hansen (Aborted, Illdisposed, Invocator). The four piece is about
a main theme, that is to say, an impending rebellion of trees, bringing
back to the roots, when they were respected beings. Their uprise is
moved against the cross, the new technological age and finally versus
humanity; this translates into a filthy, cold metal alternated with
scheming old-school metal periods, taking different directions song
by song, most of them enclosing intros or outros.
As a matter of fact, the opener "Inchaos" starts with
an intro dealing with a girl fleeing from an angry humanized tree, following
her with its roots-legs and trying to reach her with its long branches-arms.
Then the music starts and it's already clear it won't be a trivial record
at all! The riffs and the blasts are all in the vein of the purest Satyricon
assault with fat guitars and vocals reminding me of Entombed; the icy
on the cake is represented by an atmospherical slow interlude, decidedly
influenced by Darkthrone and the latest Entombed again, solo included.
This song kicks ass and the drumming is precise and tight both in the
slow and the fast structures.
"What A Wonderful Death" is rife with rock 'n' roll
riffs alternated by other Black metal ones in the severe outbursts;
think of a mix between AC/DC, Emperor and Motorhead's Lemmy on some
vocals and other Dark Funeral screams, not disdaining a few growls in
the utterly destroying Doom metal parts. The final acceleration and
the choking skillful drummer's work take no prisoners and make my day.
Time to relax now, Phazm must've thought, since "Reinous Balm"
starts with some tree movement, a slow-paced riff on which the rhythmic
section, especially the roaring wonderfully sounding bass, make my air-drums
and my head move unceasingly; the hook portrays the top that an old
school Death metal band might offer, anyhow the cards are mixed once
again so as to keep the attention high, and the nth imperious blast
is placed between the slow riffs; the result? A melanhcolic and effective
track a bit influenced by Darkthrone and Dark Funeral but genial in
the whole. Perhaps I might bore you but I must tell you the drum work
makes the difference one more time.
Ya like Dark Funeral, Marduk, Enthroned and so on? Then "Forest
Recipe" is the song you'll like best; a quite brief composition
with assorted tree cries in the background following a Bathory pattern.
For those of you who know the bases of art history, suffice it to say
the image I systematically associate to this song everytime I happen
to listen to that, is one at random from any Hieronymus Bosch's painting.
My ears get filled with resin by the glacial riffs, the symphonic parts
with the violin and the crushing doomy/deathish tempi dominating "Devoured
Tenderness" utilizing the grandeur Nile are able to create;
when the skinbeater bursts or amuses himself through the highs and lows
of his work, I can but think of a weird mix between Celtic Frost and
Voivod, enriched by a humorous vocal expression impossible to explain,
but soon after the 4-piece in question can't keep adding another ferocious
Black metal section and highly-skilled drumming parts as well.
"Vicious Seed" atttacks from the second one; this is
what they usually define Battle Black metal (Impiety, Ravager, etc);
raw, fast, then mid-paced, it includes a short buzz (Yep, honest!),
becomes slow in a way that only the heights touched by Enslaved with
"Murder" can be more elevated quality-wise.
Brutal slow Death/Black metal composes "Fleshback";
overwhelming riffs are replaced by a Black metal part, actually not
too fast but fucking groovy; the interlacement bringing towards the
melodic and top-notch guitar solo is simply unforgettable and the blast
is followed by a Doom/Death part tasting like Autopsy wedded with Dismember.
A further mixture of Death and Black appears in "Loneliness",
smartly growing with lively and involving drum parts in the extreme,
fast, slow or odd, however mammoth and perfectly hooked with the martial
and piercing guitars. A song for Bathory fans and adepts of the most
scorching Black metal.
The last song on the CD is "Dogs", seems to be the
quartet's ace in the sleeve, resulting suitable for live shows thanks
to its drunken vocals and the easy and slam-dancing parts; a sort of
harsher and more wicked Motorhead, on which a distorted bass and a remarkable
NWOBHM solo are added. As to the vinyl, there's also an exclusive bonus
track belonging to the same recording session, titled "Cross
Rots"; as usual, the picture LP is in a limited print of only
500 copies, so if you're a collector and wish to obtain the tenth track,
you'd better get moving before it costs a fortune.
The CD also contains a gory video clipBizarre, heavy and catchy. I foresee
a radiant future for Phazm, or at least that's what they deserve. One
of the most significant releases of end 2004.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 12/9/04