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Fleshcrawl - Into the Catacombs of Flesh Award winner

Fleshcrawl
Into the Catacombs of Flesh
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 04 November 2019, 3:44 AM

Germany’s FLESHCRAWL is a band that probably doesn’t need an introduction.  “Into The Catacombs of Flesh,” is their first album in 12 years; their last full length album was 2007’s “Structures Of Death.”  In addition to the long gap in between the last release, this particular album was recorded over a period of time itself—the band didn’t book studio time all at once and bust it out.  With all those details in mind, one might assume the album would come out messy or half baked.  I am thrilled to report that nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, they pick up right where they left off—it is almost as if there wasn’t ever a gap in the first place.  Three members from the last album return: vocalist Sven Gross, guitarist Oliver Grbavac, and drummer Bastian Herzog.

With that core intact, the album still sounds like the FLESHCRAWL we all remember. This album is rooted in OSDM, so groove and extremely tight rhythms are the foundation to this strong release. The first track also happens to be the title track and it is a perfect set up for the record.  Not only does it set the tone for the tracks that follow but the song itself perfectly exemplifies what this record is all about.  Dark, ominous tones descend before the crisp and speedy snare of Bastian backs up the meaty, dirty but clear guitar riffs.   Truly, their songwriting is still as sharp as it was in the early 90’s and the production backs this up—the guitar tone is immense.  This track is particularly fast and energetic, the entire band pushing their way to the front.  It doesn’t hurt that Sven sounds as deadly as he ever has, his voice seemingly not having aged.  After a blood curdling screen at the 3:46 mark, the temp slows from aggressive to crushing.  The double bass keeps the momentum going while a somewhat melodic guitar solo cuts thru the atmosphere.

The band doesn’t go out of their way to extend or shorten their songs too much either way—each song is as long, or as short, as it needs to be but is presented in a natural way that doesn’t ever sound forced.  “Ossuary Rituals,” is the band firing on all cylinders and doing a lot with their sound in under three minutes. The vocals and the guitar blend together in a tight cadence that demands head banging but light use of melodic riffs keep the song interesting until the sudden in.   As it ends, the next track, “Funeral Storm,” rushes in with some of the best riffs in the album.  The pace is relentless, even frantic and hearing the track’s name growled out over the pummeling riffs really gets the adrenaline pumping.  “Chained Impalement,” is of a similar intensity but the drumming goes even harder and the rest of the band just sounds so fucking pissed.  At the 1:33 mark, the groove turns visceral and when the double bass drops the hammer, I found myself once again in awe of the true power of Death Metal.  Metal will always evolve and push boundaries but there are very few things better than a Death Metal band that knows what it is doing.

Red Streams of Sorrow,” is highlighted by riffs, bass included, that are wound so tight they sound like they might explode.  I loved the contrast of this song being so brutal but having such an emotive guitar solo thrown in the middle of it before Sven announces, “Death to all!”  Amazing. I’ve heard it said that a good song should rise and fall.  What a ridiculous notion that every song should do this.  Take “Of Frozen Bloody Grounds,” for instance: this track is basically a three-minute crescendo of all things Death Metal and one hell of a bloody ride.  Once again, the band cleverly interjects some melodic tones to accent the heavier parts. It works well because it keeps the listener on their toes and makes the more intense parts sound, well, even more intense.

Ultimately, “Into The Catacombs of Flesh,” is harrowing yet decidedly smart album that sees a brutal band recognizing the importance of song writing over being heavy for the hell of it.  Every track here is a burner and any fan of this band or Death Metal in general would be doing themselves a huge disservice by skipping it.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Into The Catacombs Of Flesh
2. Mass Obliteration
3. Ossuary Rituals
4. Funeral Storm
5. Grave Monger
6. Chained Impalement
7. Law of Retaliation
8. Obliteration Bizarre
9. Red Streams Of Sorrow
10. Of Frozen Bloody Grounds
11. Suffer The Dead
12. Among Death And Desolation
Lineup:
Sven Gross – Vocals
Oliver Grbavac – Guitars
Slobodan Stupar – Guitars
Manuel Markowski – Bass
Bastian Herzog - Drums
Record Label: Apostasy Records
     


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