Released: 2007, Metal Blade
Fleshcrawl has been around for quite a while, starting out in 1991 in Germany by drummer Bastian Herzog. STRUCTURES OF DEATH being their 8th studio album, you expect a certain level of professionalism, and boy, do we have it here. This is uncompromising heavy death metal in the best traditions of Dismember and Bolt Thrower, coupled with a slight tinge of Swedish death. The aesthetics of Swe-death will surely be seen in the melodies, the thick pleasing production and the occasional solos, but the spirit and philosophy of the band remains firmly grounded in good, solid, old school death metal.
The drumming is pretty top notch throughout, although the double kicking does get monotonous at times. However the rhythmic demands and percussive nature of Fleshcrawl’s music call for a precise, tight drummer, and Bastian delivers with great double kicking, mixing it with some good old rock drumming and traditional death chops complete with blast beats and the lot. The songs are usually no-nonsense, no screwing about – it’s just hit the listener hard, fast and very loud (hehe). The energy and fury in the band is not lost in some atmospheric haze of overly melodic guitars, rather it’s accentuated and given a context. However, be warned, the guitars are so downtuned and the production so heavy that the guitars just register as dull thumps in your eardrums. Growling and grunting his way through STRUCTURES OF DEATH is singer Sven Gross, sounding remarkably like Johan Hegg. The lyrics however are pretty tame, talking about mutilation and feasting on blood etc, not too original, or even shocking really.
“Into The Fire” features a Spanish/Arabic classical guitar intro that really works. The song drags along slightly in the middle, and it’s more a midtempo groover rather than a straight-out thrasher. The pace then picks up with “Written In Blood”. “A Spirit Dressed in Black” and Fleshcult are stalking, almost doomy numbers, with a downtuned thrashy groove to them. The former also features a weird, albeit effective, bluesy solo, the first lead I’ve heard so far. “Anthems of Death”, second longest song on the album, is about as progressive and complex as these guys get, especially on the part of the drummer – swishes, crashes, blast beats, double kicking, rolls, time and tempo changes. Nice stuff!
All in all, it’s not particularly ground-breaking, in terms of the music or subject matter, but Fleshcrawl have found their niche and they aim to do what they do well already even better. STRUCTURES OF DEATH won’t surprise you, but it’ll give you more than a few hours of head-thrashing fun. It’s more “death” than “melody” but the proportions are well-balanced. They skirt the border pretty well, so deathsters might hear Dismember and Kataklysm in them, while melo-death fans will hear some Arch Enemy and perhaps a tiny smidgen of Amon Amarth in them. Not a bad record to spend a bit of your monthly allowance on.