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I bring you pain - 97%

Hate Forest, November 23rd, 2012

With this release Fleshcrawl accomplish a transition away from their former suspense-laden fusion of death and doom metal. This is a bold step, as their first album explored uncharted territory already, which could have been elaborated on just as well.

Their 1994 release, by contrast, incorporates stylistic influences from grindcore, which leads to a number of formal changes: The speed, although flexible, travels mostly in the upper midrange (with considerable margins to the faster and slower), the guitar sound is compressed, superbly beaten/fucked-up and sawing. The bass is there, like a faithful companion, but barely discernible. Drums and vocals are loud in the mix and represented well.

All parts of the band function as one. The guitars deliver riff after riff in an ever-undulating way of a pan grinder, the drums are doublebass-laden, change tempo and rhythm out of the blue and accentuate the key motifs in an unaffected, bone-dry, mechanical way, like a human drum computer, sheer bliss! - and all this provides a framework for the crushing vocals and occasional guitar leads to merely support and emphasize the central themes and ideas, which are simple but original.

The craftmanship of this band is precise and sober, no instrument or artistic means sticks out, and Fleshcrawl pull off the grindcore instrumentarium with ease, almost incidentally. The elements of this music are hard to digest when taken individually, but they are masterfully melded into an amalgam, from which, after a while, few surprises emerge. Instead they form an oppressive framework that induces a trance-like state in the listener, from which one awakes with clarity in the rare and all the more surprising moments of melodicity.

This music is death metal of the purest form and highest caliber at its core, with some stylistic leanings to grindcore. Similarities to Bolt Thrower, for example, are undeniable. But Fleshcrawl's variety is impressive for its refinement and clarity, which seems to be more to the point and distills the essences of death metal and grindcore into a single potion; it chooses a path of direct, unpretentious onslaught of negativity, and isolates itself from stereotypes and contemporary issues, such as war and destruction, as it would be more typical for grindcore.

There are few bands in this world which have ingested death metal seemingly with their mother's milk like this one. Like much of Fleshcrawl's work, this album brings ecstasy to death metal purists and cannot be enough recommended.