Saturday, 8 March 2014

Fleshcrawl - Descend into the Absurd

FLESHCRAWL - Descend into the Absurd (BLACK MARK - CD 1992)
According to some opinions this is the greatest death metal album that came from the German DM scene in the early 90's. Well, I am not sure whether I would pick up "Descend into the Absurd" and give it this title, coz’ the choice is difficult. There are also some other killer bands and classics albums deserving it as much as Fleshcrawl. There’s of corpse Morgoth with all their stuff recorded up to “Cursed” LP, there’s also Torchure and “Beyond the Veil”... And few more bands. Obviously such Morgoth was always way more popular back in the old days than Fleshcrawl, they were one of the leading European death metal bands, while Fleshcrawl was more underground act, so it is quite difficult to compare both bands.... But definitely both belong to my personal favourites from the old days of German death metal scene. And both have recorded some killer albums. Yeah, as much as "Descend into the Absurd" may seem a bit underestimated and almost forgotten (or at least not quite as well known as it should be), it still remains a monument of classic old styled death metal. And if you call yourself a fan of this music, then you must know and have this album in your collection!
Those of you, who know Fleshcrawl from their more recent albums rather than from their early stuff, may be slightly surprised here. You won't hear much of the Swedish death metal influence on "Descend into the Absurd"! Let me remind you that Fleshcrawl on their more recent materials have started to play very much like Dismember and such… meanwhile this debut CD is way more primeval and rough sort of death metal. Sure, there may be some similarities to certain Swedish death metal bands, but if you look for things such as Sunlight Studio like production, or so characteristic atmosphere and melody, then you will be disappointed. This album hasn’t got them. Instead, this is harsh, raw and aggressive ancient way of death metal! It’s classic death metal and it certainly has similarities to some bands from Finland, Sweden, Holland, USA and even a certain later black metal cultists from Norway, whose first album is a classic death metal LP. It doesn't really matter and the most important fact here is that "Descend into the Absurd" sounds just so bloody fantastic. Maybe the production could have been slightly better, but I like it anyway and the songwriting doesn't leave any doubts... killer band, awesome album with eight spotless death metal songs, filled with heavy, brutal riffs and a lot of variety.
I must admit that my favourite parts of "Descend into the Absurd" are when Fleshcrawl plays slow. There are several almost doomy moments, which sound just fantastic and will definitely be a thing for the maniacs of some British, Dutch, Scandinavian and one certain American bands. First we can hear it on "Phrenetic Tendencies", a brilliant opener, which starts in rather fast manner, but it quickly leads towards a killer doomy passage, only to speed up again after a while. Great effect and a slaughter guaranteed. Then "Perpetual Dawn" is even better example, as it starts with excellent doomy part... and yes, it transforms into a merciless death metal ferocity again, but I like it this way, cause it sounds just better when the music is not so one dimensional, but provides a lot of diversity. There are even some traces of Swedish death metal near the end of this long, almost 7 minutes long song, so I can certainly say that "Perpetual Dawn" belongs to my favourite tracks from the whole album. The best is yet to come though, with such songs as "Lost in a Grave" - which is another explosion of brutal, massive riffs and death metal ferocity... It sounds quite like Morgoth's "Isolation" hehe, but it is just brilliant song, one of the finest moments on "Descend into the Absurd", filled with slow, heavy riffing and then speeding up once again. And the same I can say about "Never to Die Again... what a classic song.
But really, I think that there are no weak moments on "Descend into the Absurd" and definitely this is one of my favourite European death metal albums from the good old days. It has everything what I like about the classic death metal - slow, doomy parts, as well as fast, ferocious stuff... there are vicious, harsh growls and great, raw production and finally that atmosphere of horror, of something eerie is present here as well. It's absolutely recommendable album, a true gem in this style of music. I am quite surprised it has never been released on vinyl, also I guess that nowadays even the CD version is quite hard to find. So, I hope it will finally be released on black wax one day, as I would love to have it on vinyl. Meanwhile I totally recommend this album to all old school death metal maniacs out there; if you don't know this classic, then get it now!
Standout tracks: "Perpetual Dawn", "Lost in a Grave", "Never to Die Again", "Festering Flesh"
Final rate: 90/100

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