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Fleshdoll – Blood Red District

Fleshdoll
Blood Red District
by Destroya Dave at 20 February 2016, 10:55 AM

I was lucky(?) enough to be playing in a Thrash band in London in the ‘90s, which as the history books recount was not optimal timing due to the rapid ascension of all things Grunge and Nu-Metal. Classic Thrash was out of favour (Any EXODUIS fans here remember “Force of Habit” fondly?) but there was a growing popularity for Black Metal or Death Metal bands. As a result I heard so many poorly-played covers of “Mandatory Suicide” by local DM bands that it really put me off the genre, and it takes something special from a Death Metal band to make me really sit up and take note. But French bruisers FLESHDOLL managed to tickle my pickle (French ticklers anyone?).

Formed in 2001 in Toulouse and influenced by AGRESSOR, CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, TESTAMENT, KREATOR, NILE, SADUS, IMMOLATION, NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS, ANATA, INSISION, BOLT THROWER and MOTÖRHEAD among others, this is the quintet’s fourth album of brutal DM.

Powerful first track is the (mostly) instrumental “2084”, the Orwellian reference in the title backed-up by some movie samples over a backing track of intense riffing and screeching leads. Like every track on the album this is particularly well-produced by Mobo, with each instrument given plenty of separation and space in the mix (especially notable on headphones). The bass tone is growly, but not in a distorted Grindcore style.

On several tracks the guttural vocals are complemented by being double-tracked with a higher register (more like the “spat” vocals of CARCASS’s Jeff Walker), for example “I.A.M (In Articulo Mortis)” and “Soundtrack to Extinction”. The songwriting on the whole album is top notch, with riffs and lead-lines criss-crossing throughout and a lot of variation in the drumming patterns. There’s a welcome variety of light and shade throughout, a dynamic range that’s sadly missing from a lot of DM bands. The only drawback of this is that the songs are so complex in their construction that there isn’t that one killer riff that sticks in the brain for days, but for me that’s preferable to monotony.

“Blind Winter Light” really changes things up with its sparser, slower opening lines, although still very technical, and a classy acoustic/classical guitar outro. For me the killer track on the album is the closing one “Maelstrom”. This is pure Thrash, with the band totally synchronised in their playing.

Please don’t hesitate to check out this album, you’ve nothing Toulouse (sorry!).

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. 2084
2. I.A.M. (In Articulo Mortis)
3. World of Terror
4. Soundtrack to Extinction
5. Blood Red District
6. Blind Winter Light
7. Dogs on Drugs
8. Battle Royale
9. The Cave
10. Maelstrom
Lineup:
Bastich – Vocals
Chili – Guitars
Billy – Guitars
Judas – Bass
Michaël Martin  – Drums
Record Label: Great Dane Records
     


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