In what surely qualifies as one of the more unusual nightmare scenarios to grace heavy metal album covers in recent years, Phazm's Hate at First Seed depicts what appear to be really pissed off, potentially man-eating trees reeking revenge upon humanity -- again! Seriously, though, once the artwork and requisite special effects intro (a woman moaning in pleasure, or perhaps being sexually assaulted by her salad?), Phazm reveal themselves to be a rather proficient black/death metal machine, and not to be trifled with by man or vegetable alike. Never mind that Hate at First Seed's graphic, album-length vision of fierce foliage revenge will inevitably conjure much chuckling before it's through; the fact is standout tracks like "Devoured Tenderness" and the super sardonic "What a Wonderful Death" compile no shortage of strong riffs, inventive time-changes, and well thought-out guitar solos to go with their tales of misanthropic shrubbery. In addition, the band inject surprising doses of Satyricon-style dark melody into the slowly building "Resinous Balm" and the equally memorable "Vicious Seed," then unleash total screaming Armageddon on the wordless "Forest Recipe," before concluding with an unusual choice of Motörhead cover in the largely forgotten non-hit "Dogs." All in all, Hate at First Seed is a very competent if hardly groundbreaking effort, sonically speaking, and, ironically, winds up benefiting from its odd subject matter to help make it unique. And rumors that the members of Phazm are indeed committed Vegans remain unconfirmed.
|Label:||The End Records|