Released: 2015, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
It's been a while since I've heard any Scottish death metal, probably since 2013 when Falkirk-based Cnoc An Tursa issued their impressive black/folk-tinged debut album The Giants of Auld via Candlelight. But now comes the self-released debut album from Tower of Flies, who hail from not far away in Edinburgh and have been kicking around for the past three years.
Not sure if the more urban – not to mention historically sinister - environs have had an impact on the band's sound, but Tower of Flies are definitely a more brutal and hardscrabble band than their countrymen just to the west. Recalling early Cannibal Corpse – especially in Gregor Meldrum's murky Chris Barnes-like croak – and mid-period Death, Tower Of Flies offer plenty of meat-and-potatoes old school gnarliness on Death Approaches with its bone-sawing guitars, churn-and-chug rhythms and roughshod production.
But that's not to say these guys are mere revivalists. The band weave in splashes of brutal death/grind metal – notably on the 55-second blitzkrieg closing track “Force Fed” and lurching groove of “War In The Cradle of Man” – build to rather grand scale on “Abort” and the Amon Amarth-like “Throne of the Chainsaw,” and show some clever, but understated instrumental fluidity throughout to give things a more contemporary spin. All this brings some welcome personality to what very easily could have been just more old school death worship.
Death Approaches has the feel of a demo but the presence of a band who just now really seem to be getting their shit together. For a self-produced and self-released first effort, it's a worthy stepping stone and something Tower Of Flies certainly can build on.
The chops are there and the confidence lurks just behind. It will be interesting to hear what these guys have to offer next time with a few more gigs and the studio experience of Death Approaches under their belts.