Released: 2000, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
These five Germans don’t fuck around when it comes to Swedish death metal! That’s right, if you didn’t already know, you would swear these guys hail from Scandinavia. We’re talking classic death metal here, complete with that typical Entombed/Dismember buzzsaw guitar sound. Imagine Dismember with blast beats combined with the vocals of Seance. Yes, Fleshcrawl isn’t too original nor groundbreaking, that’s for sure. But these guys seem steadfast in their decision to play the music they love, and it shows. Not too many bands nowadays have that early ‘90s Swedish death metal sound, so to a certain extent, Fleshcrawl is a nice trip back to the good ol’ days. But then again, they sound a bit too much like Dismember.
As Blood Rains from the Sky… opens with “March of the Dead”, a haunting keyboard intro, which is too long. It builds up too much anxiety to the point where I can’t help but hit the forward-track button on the CD player, because what follows is all-out mayhem! “Path of Endless Fire” is a blasting assault and definitely a highlight on the album. I like how it begins with a blast beat that continues through the first verse. The underlying riff right before the first verse is rather hard to grasp, which is something that will provide years of listening to dissect (anyone remember the riffs in Exhorder’s The Law?? I’m still puzzled.). Clocking in at under one minute, and unfortunately shorter than the damn intro, “Path of Endless Fire” ends quickly with hardly a pause before “Under the Banner of Death” screams its fury. Bring on those blast beats!! Another album highlight! The title track follows, and it sounds way too much like Dismember…so much, that I swear they just lifted some riffs off Like an Everflowing Stream. And no Swedish death metal album would be complete without slow doom sections. Thus we arrive at “Dark Side of My Soul”, which opens with great plodding riffs of anguish, before diving into double bass hell, and later on some good old blast beats. It would have been great to hear Fleshcrawl in slow motion for the entire length of the song, but what the hell. Another friendly song is “Impure Massacre of Bloody Souls”, which combines varied tempos with classic and melodic death metal riffs, maybe a bit similar to what Dismember did on Death Metal. “Creation of Wrath” is another brutal, ballistic, barrage of blast beats! Man, this album sounds so thick when those guitars are combined with the drum blasts sections! And of course, like every other band on the planet, Fleshcrawl has thrown on a couple covers. “Swords of Darkness”, written by Exciter about sixteen years ago, is placed in the middle of the album. It seems like a bad idea including it altogether, considering it sounds a little too power metal-ish. But it does have a great doom section backing the lead guitar. The other cover is “The Day Man Lost”, originally performed by Carnage! Nice choice!
As I mentioned, Fleshcrawl does not bring anything new to the table with this album. Unless you just can’t get enough Dismember, this album will not be of much interest. Sorry for the numerous Dismember references, but I am not kidding here…Fleshcrawl could very well be Dismember is disguise! They are best when they are blasting away at full speed. I think this element more than anything else separates them from Dismember. Fleshcrawl have done a killer job preserving the classic Swedish death metal sound and style, and have produced a fucking heavy-ass, great-sounding album full of aggression. But what they haven’t done is something new or original to make me want to explore their music any further. Although I was very surprised to discover that this band has been around for quite some time, with now five albums under their belts. I was also very surprised to find out that they’ve worked with such individuals as Dan Swano and Peter Tagtgren in the past, and have also covered a goddamned Demilich song! Hmmm…maybe I should look into their past material! Their simple, easy to use, and aesthetically pleasing web site can be found at: http://www.fleshcrawl.de