Phasm
Demo 2013 Cassette

Well, it isn’t exactly easy to review less than 9 minutes of music in any meaningful way. But Phasm’s 2013 demo absolutely smashes together 4 triumphant songs in this time frame. Call it frantic, frenetic, frenzied, or hysterical; each word has a worthy place among the pantheon of eligible descriptors for this wonderfully energetic debut. Not many black metal bands want to be categorized as a ‘fun’ listen, but this cassette is unquestionably some of the most ‘fun’ black metal that has come out this year.

Do not let a label like that allow you to begin thinking that this demo is anything to be taken lightly however. Quite the contrary, this is well executed, thrashy black metal with a small bit of raw punk influence. Perfectly recorded in the sweet spot between lo-fi and over-produced, everything is edgy enough to lend itself perfectly to the cassette format without sacrificing any audio quality. All cassette black metal should sound like this!

Massive bells and feedback swell for 30 seconds before the maelstrom hits. “Hatred & Fuck” has an incredibly catchy opening riff that is timeless. This song could have been written in 1996 and no one would know any different. Two and a half minutes of aggression comes to a close with abrasive feedback that leads into “Scythe Wind.” Easily the most classically black metal of the tracks, it is full of pick shredding, drum destroying, speedy black fury. As warning sirens fill the atmosphere, the air raid that is “Cosmic Annihilator” comes crashing in, barraging the listener with bombastic and dynamic riffing that is impossible not to headbang to. Shortest song and closer “Burned, Crushed, and Poisoned” scrapes through its 100 second running time and then this album is over WAY before you want it to be. Listen to it 3 times in a row and you still have time left in a half hour. It’s easy to do.

It is imperative I mention the whimsical yet dark and completely badass artwork. Rendered by the internet artist known only as Buttcoffin (not kidding), this delightful hand drawing is reminiscent of the music itself; not afraid to be ‘fun’, but still solemn. Phasm have officially landed on my radar, and should be on yours too. Demo 2013 has about 15 copies left and is $3.00, help sell this pressing out and implore them to get more music released. Don’t sleep on this one!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
November 15th, 2013

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