"Made of Flesh" (Metal Blade; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

After a bit of a break and a slight lineup change, Fleshcrawl return with their sixth album "Made Of Flesh." While death metal still takes a backseat to most other metal styles in my listening preferences, I do enjoy Swedish death metal and Fleshcrawl are one of the few bands I listen to on a fairly regular basis.

With "Made Of Flesh," Fleshcrawl have not deviated too far from the sound that they committed to tape on their previous two releases. Compared to their previous work the blast beats aren't as pervasive, but still make up a fair chunk of the band's speed-laden death metal frenzy. Slower rhythms are also used to greater effect allowing for slicker grooves and more interesting riffing dynamics; it's the dynamism of the riffs that makes bands like Fleshcrawl interesting to listen to and these guys are getting better and better at it.

In the end it doesn't take long to realize that "Made Of Flesh" shares more in common with "Soulskinner" than "As Blood Rains From The Sky " The greater use of mid-paced riffing allows Fleshcrawl's rhythms to really shine. The death vox are still pretty standard for the genre deep and guttural which is just the way it should be. "Into The Depths Of No Return" is probably my favorite track off the disc and it is a good track that summarizes the rest of the album.

I was kind of looking forward to hearing which song Fleshcrawl would choose as the obligatory cover track, but it was not meant to be on "Made Of Flesh." Maybe next time.

I like each new Fleshcrawl album better than the previous one; perhaps not enough to warrant an extra half chainsaw, but enough to say that I like the way the band is slowly evolving and still remaining true to their sound over the last few years.

"Made Of Flesh" was produced by Fleshcrawl.

Fleshcrawl: Sven Gross on vocals, Mike Hanus and Oliver Grbavac on guitars, Tobias Schick on bass, and Bastian Herzog on drums.

For more information visit http://www.fleshcrawl.de

"Soulskinner" (Metal Blade; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Thrashy death metal kings Fleshcrawl have returned with another pocket full of napalm. "Soulskinner" is a tighter and more musically satisfying brand of death metal now that it's pretty obvious Fleshcrawl might be looking a little bit more to their brethren in Sweden for inspiration as opposed to some of the better known American bands in the death metal genre.

"Soulskinner" trades a little bit of their infamous and relentless fury for more musicality and staggering slow parts that still remain quite heavy. On tracks like "Dying Blood" the band slows down enough for the music to pummel without blurring endlessly. Hell, on "Dying Blood" I could actually understand the lyrics the first time I heard it. The violent and abrasive surfaces of Fleshcrawl's music are still at the forefront of the band's musical vision - however, they're just a bit more intricate.

But, don't worry; Fleshcrawl haven't totally forsaken the style that got them known in the first place - blast beats galore. The blast beats are like the flames of hell - they're everywhere! - on most songs at least. Songs like the title track, "Deathvestation," and "Breeding The Dead" have the relentless, unforgiving paces that could render large animals helpless.

The lyrics are a little bit less pure gore-based and a little bit more sinister. Sven Gross' enunciation is more pronounced giving the listener a far easier experience in trying to decipher the lyrics as they're grunted from line to line.

Fleshcrawl are no strangers to cover songs and on this disc they tackle Judas Priest's "Metal Gods" by twisting it into their own aggressive mold without making it unrecognizable.

"Soulskinner," much like its predecessor "As Blood Rains From The Sky " is still very much riveting and satisfying. Fans of American death metal and Swedish death metal will all find something to like in "Soulskinner."

"Soulskinner" was produced by Fleshcrawl.

Fleshcrawl is Sven Gross on vocals, Mike Hanus and Stefan Hanus on guitars, Tobias Schick on bass, and Bastian Herzog on drums.

For more information visit http://www.fleshcrawl.de

"As Blood Rains From the Sky, We Walk the Path of Endless Fire" (Metal Blade; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Hey, if that isn't a weighty title I don't what is! Fleshcrawl's "As Blood Rains From The Sky, We Walk The Path Of Endless Fire" is German death metal that actually competes with Slayer for un-compromised intensity. They say the calm is in the eye of the storm, but Fleshcrawl leave no room for error with blast beats and relentless rhythms at all turns. Making the grotesque and horrifying fun to listen to is no easy task and Fleshcrawl actually manage to make the variety of song here sound like pieces of a completed whole.

"As Blood Rains ..." is the perfect soundtrack for those of you who enjoy running through hospitals pulling the plugs on life support equipment. "As Blood Rains " drives a stake through the heart of the many pretenders in the currently exploding death metal scene.  Fleshcrawl make death metal a riveting experience. Most music is like a gentle push, simply nudging our perceived notions of what music can do into the background of our listening experiences; Fleshcrawl is capable of a violent shove to get your attention and actually holds you captive for more than a couple of tracks. 

"Feed The Demon's Heart" and "The Dark Side Of My Soul" are great tracks that will find their way onto mix tapes that I make for long car trips.  Having tackled Slayer's "Necrophiliac" in the past, Fleshcrawl cover two more songs on "As Blood Rains " - Exciter's "Swords Of Darkness" and Carnage's "The Day Man Lost" are good updates of the originals.  Fans of Slayer and European death metal will love Fleshcrawl. 

"As Blood Rains From The Sky, We Walk The Path Of Endless Fire" was produced by the band (the first time they've produced themselves); the disc was recorded at the famous Studio Fredman in Gotenburg, Sweden.  Anders Friden (of In Flames) assisted on the engineering and Fredrik Nordstrom (At The Gates) assisted in the mixing. 

Fleshcrawl is Sven Grob on vocals, Mike Hanus and Stefan Hanus on guitars, Tobias Schick on bass, and Basti Herzog on drums. 

For more information visit http://www.fleshcrawl.de

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 May 2024 14:45:21 -0400.