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Fleshwolf – Fleshwolf Award winner

by Santiago Puyol at 04 May 2020, 11:10 AM

FLESHWOLF is a Northern Irish Death Metal project by Marty Robinson. This self-titled release is his first full-length as FLESHWOLF, a powerful and immediate album that channels the raw energy of the 90’s Swedish Death Metal scene, as well as a more timely Rock’N’Roll feel even if not in sound.

"The Rot" is an outstanding opener, with some dirty, crunchy riffing laying down the backbone of the track. Some melodic lead guitar work with a playful, spidery phrasing on the intro of the song. A playful yet always intense track, with a driving rhythm. Some catchy, old school soloing proves as effective as always.

Descending riffing and manic drumming make for a memorable beginning on "Trench." Some nice use of flanger here, as well as slightly Blackened riffs adding diversity. The noisy crackling of the distorted guitar adds some charm to the music, rather than detracting from it. A perfect example of noisy production working for and not against the record.

"Fleshwolf" moves, on one hand, urgent, more direct and traditional tracks with breakneck speed like "Static", with is machine-gun riffing and drumming, or the almost Punkish "Dark Corners"; and on the other hand, playful, exploratory songs with shifting structures like "Deathstare" or "Of The Night". From those last two, the former has two very distinct halves, going from high-energy and catchy riffing into a somewhat sinister second half, with textured guitar work and brooding solos. Its abrupt stop-and-start structure makes for an interesting choice and showcases the strong songwriting by Robinson. "Of The Night" has a playful drum intro and some vile shredding. From 2:34 onwards it sets into a mid-tempo groove, with some hypnotic guitar work, slightly jazzy and sludgy.

FLESHWOLF also uses the studio as another instrument, throwing in interesting speech samples on "Transcend" (pay attention to that wah-tingled solo on the backend of the track) or making fun mixing choices on closer "Born of Anger" vocal track or several fake ends before properly fading out is a fun decision that absolutely fits the record.

Although the subject matters and the overall tone of the record is tough and gloomy, the record has a clear love and appreciation for how fun heavy music can be. FLESHWOLF deliver an outstanding record that does not reinvent the wheel and does not even try to do that. Instead, it looks at the past with the passion of a metalhead and a music lover, intent on giving back some of that excitement when listening to a new record for the very first time.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Rot
2. Trench
3. Static
4. Transcend
5. Deathstare
6. Of the Night
7. Dark Corners
8. Born of Anger
Marty Robinson – All instruments
Record Label: Independent


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