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A gore stew with all the sci-fi trimmings. - 85%

hells_unicorn, February 21st, 2014

Nuance is not a concept normally associated with brutal death metal, but relatively speaking, there is some of it found in a number of younger acts of late. Usually this involves different ways in which older ideas are brought into the mix and repackaged for a new generation of flesh consumers (pun intended). Thus stands the California based hodgepodge of slam, speed, technique and aggression that is Flesh Consumed, touting a rather impressive EP in "New Order Of Intelligence" that manages to build some very overt bridges back to the past while still extending them into the future. This is a modern band that is keenly aware of its forefathers, particularly of the 90s New York death metal scene in all of its sludgy glory, and manages to incorporate their ideas into a sound that is otherwise in perfect synchronicity with the common practices of many brutal and technical acts of the present.

Things begin on a rather menacing note with a cacophony of background noise hinting at an ongoing future apocalypse with the lifeless droning of a mechanized voice reciting a genocidal set of protocols directed at humanity. The Sci-Fi undertones prove a perfect backdrop for a display of old and new, fast and slow, all tied in together in a methodical yet complex manner that makes for a very engaging listen. From its inception, the lead-off/title song "New Order Of Intelligence" functions as a rather curious combination of dissonant speed and fury reminiscent of Morbid Angel, and the slow moving, doom-like character of early Immolation, all presented in a meaty production template in line with a number of post-2002 acts. In keeping with the futuristic character of the subject matter, the low end guttural vocal display of Corey Athos, while highly reminiscent of a number of iconic New York barkers, manages to also sound cold and machine-like, almost like what the villainous killing machine that narrated the intro would sound like speaking through a maniacal set of human vocal chords.

For the most part, the measured mixture of fast and slow endures from one song to the next, though the packaging does differ a little bit in terms of scale. The mini-epic crusher "The Apocalypse" offers a longer scale offering of muddy brilliance presented through a punchy, percussive production, and draws arguably the most direct inspiration from the older school NY scene alluded to earlier. On the other extreme is the brief closer "Inhuman Butchery", which veers a bit closer to the simpler character of many recent brutal acts and keeps things closer to a consistent speeding cruise with technical riffs and rapid tremolo lines a plenty, though a bit less fancy than the likes of Decrepit Birth. But perhaps the greatest curiosity of this album is this band's approach to guitar soloing, which tends to follow the old school format by keeping it short and tied to a specific, climactic part of the song, but at the same time sounding a bit closer to the precision character of bands like The Faceless that scream late 2000s, rather than sticking to the chaotic bluster of orthodox Kerry King emulation.

If there is one particular niche that this EP appeals to, it's younger death metal consumers who might be otherwise inclined to embrace old school practices, but don't necessarily care of the sludgier character of many of said bands. It's definitely an eclectic approach that manages to fully embrace the obligatory aspects of a brutal album while freely exploring territory that is often used in excess by various hyphenated brutal and otherwise death metal oriented bands. And perhaps another subtle charm is the incorporation of essential gore-based themes into an actual story narrative of sorts, rather than just dwelling upon elaborate descriptions of a random person's anatomy being transmogrified. Definitely a band worth looking into.