Dead Tree Seeds – Back To The Seeds (Album Review)

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Zombie trees rise from decrepit roots.

Though having existed in some capacity since the height of the New Wave Of Thrash Metal in the late 2000s, French thrashers Dead Tree Seeds have been one of their motherland’s best kept secrets for most of their existence. With their first studio LP dubbed “Seeds Of Thrash” having been a wholly independent venture circa 2013 when their adopted style was in a state of transition both artistically speaking and in terms of marketing, most of the outside world would come to define present day thrash metal by what acts such as Power Trip and Crisix were doing at the time. But a new decade and the backing of a label have a way of changing the game, which is what occurred in 2020 when their sophomore outing and M.U.S.I.C. Records debut Push The Button came to light. Yet when new heights have been achieved, there is often a desire to revisit the past and offer it up to the newer membership of a now expanded audience, which is the bulk of what has occurred on their subsequent EP follow up Back To The Seeds.

As with many albums that include updated recordings of older material, a necessary bone has been thrown to pre-existing fans who have been familiar with this outfit’s brand of Bay Area-infused, raw and nasty brand of thrash since the mid-2010s in the form of a new exclusive studio song. At its onset, the high octane punishment session that is “1796” gives off a vibe not all that far removed from vintage Metallica, though when the maddened ravings and primal growls of vocalist Frank Vortex and the frenzied riffing and thunderous fury of the surrounding instrumentalists hit the proverbial pavement, something far closer to the more vicious and technical character of present day Testament and Exodus comes into view. Though confined to a fairly compact sub-5 minute duration, the assortment of transitions from frenetic to mid-paced territory combined with the wildly proficient displays out of kit master and lone founding member Alex Prudent and the shred happy lead guitar majesty of Aurelein Gonzalez make for a modern thrasher that attacks the vertebrae from a whole other level.

What immediately follow the aforementioned auditory kill session are three entries from this outfit’s obscure 2013 debut, and while the results are slightly less intricate, the combination of an updated production and the ballsy vocal performance result in something nearly as potent. The shorter and ultimately quite sweet speeder “Set The Fire” has a slightly more straightforward and melodically consonant demeanor, leaning closer to the late 80s vintage sound of “The New Order” and “Pleasures Of The Flesh,” albeit with a uglier vocal display that often comes close to landing in primitive death metal territory. “Torture And Rage” often pivots back to similar territory to that of “1796”, though with a more chaotic character and an even greater supply of freewheeling guitar solos and rich melodic interludes that would make Alex Skolnick proud. Things ratchet down a bit on the final chapter “Homage To Thrash”, which has a high distinctive yet more limited riff set that one would normally associated with an early 90s approach, though again chock full of impressive fret board gymnastics out of Gonzalez.

Though maybe not the most prolific act to come raging out of the 2000s thrash metal revival, Dead Tree Seeds continue to provide a reliable case study in how the style can be presented in a highly raw and vicious manner while still underscoring a sense of structural cohesion and accessibility. Their signature sound largely sticks to the somewhat technical yet otherwise mainline San Francisco approach, though their generally speed-driven character and sense of aggression make comparisons to the like of Slayer appropriate, though the most obvious affinity would be to the sound that Testament has been exhibiting since around that same time that this French quintet came into being. It may avoid the gut-busting, over-the-top humor actor and correspondingly comical musical presentation that typify Crisix and many past revival act, as well as the colossal sense of force that a recent Warbringer album might offer, but it gets the job done nicely and throws plenty of treats to the riff hounds and guitar solo enthusiasts that make up much of thrash’s core fan base.

Released By: Music-Records
Release Date: February 11th, 2022
Genre: Thrash Metal

Musicians:

  • Alex Prudent / Drums
  • Aurélien Gonzalez / Guitars
  • Sidi Assila / Bass 
  • Frank Vortex / Vocals 
  • Francois Odonnet / Guitars 

“Nightmare Frontier” Track listing:

  1. 1796
  2. Set The Fire
  3. Torture and Rage
  4. Homage to Thrash 
8.6 Great

The Bay Area sound of yesteryear has seen a long-running renaissance in just about every part of the earth outside its original bounds, and one of its French adherents continues the Testament meets Exodus-infused stride that typified their 2020 M.U.S.I.C. Records debut with a shorter mixture of old and new.

  • Songwriting 8.5
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 8.5
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