FLESHCRAWL - Bloodsoul (BLACK MARK - CD 1996)
I truly think that Fleshcrawl belongs to the best death metal bands ever. I know that not many will agree, some will say that I am fuckin crazy and call them “second league” kind of band… but why would I care? I love them. First off, show me how many bands are there, which release death metal albums ever since 1992 and never decided to change and “progress” / “get matured” as they often say!! Even in the late 90’s, when so many death metal bands wimped out, Fleshcrawl kept on playing their old school death metal (or simply death metal) they way it should always sound. Great respect for that! Stuff, which Fleshcrawl released in the late 90’s, is my favourite death metal of that era, along the stuff, which bands like Vomitory, Hypocrisy and Dismember did at that time. And that’s a compliment. “Bloodsoul” is from 1996 and surely belongs to the best Fleshcrawl albums. And it’s one of those albums, which you cannot say that are gigantic and groundbreaking, but it’s solid and high quality, killer death metal. For me it’s a timeless slab of filth and listening to it is nothing but pleasure.
If you’re a death metal fan, you will get into “Bloodsoul” immediately. This album is very easily listenable, it is not complicated, it is not too technical or brutal. It is simple, straight forward mid to fast paced death metal with great catchy riffs, memorable arrangements and some melodic parts, which appear here and there to create a more diverse sound. The album was recorded at the famous Abyss Studio with Mr Peter Tagtgren and thus it is soaked in the Swedish death metal sauce. You won’t even have to look into the booklet to guess that, especially since everything sounds so alike to Hypocrisy albums, when speaking of the production value. I won’t take that as a negative thing, even though I preferred harsher and more fat, lower sound, which the band had on “Impurity” – which, by the way, was also recorded in Sweden, but at Unisound Studio, with Dan Swano. As a matter of fact, all future Fleshcrawl albums, except “Structures of Death”, were also recorded in Sweden, in various other studios.
As I already mentioned, the whole “Bloodsoul” is very easy to get into. It’s not tiresome or boring, because it’s just about 35 minutes of music, which is a perfect timing. And each of the album’s eight songs is an excellent piece of death metal. You will find here many great riffs, I like the vocals of Alex Pretzer a lot (for whom this was the last album with the band; he disappeared from the scene after that one) and I am sure that everyone will have his own favourites here. I love the title song with that heavy opening riff. What a crusher. But this song has everything – great slow and fast parts, memorable chorus… it’s total neckbreaker, in my opinion. Then “The Age of Chaos” with its strong Bolt Thrower-
esque riffage and harmony. “In the Dead of Night” – classic Swedish death metal tune, with great gory lyrics. There’s also a cover song here – and after killer Demigod cover from the “Impurity” it’s another tribute to Finnish death metal scene with Demilich’s “Embalmed Beauty Sleep” from “The Four Instructive Tales ...of Decomposition” demo. This version obviously has no inhuman Antti Boman vocals, but sounds fantastic as well. And I really like the idea Fleshcrawl had to add special cover songs to their albums. Pity they stopped doing death metal covers after Demilich and came up with Judas Priest or Exciter which I didn’t like as much.
So, to be honest, I like almost everything about “Bloodsoul”. It’s an easy album that strikes in the guts and rips the shit out of you and do not waste time for bullshit. And that sounds great. And the only thing, which I don’t like, is the artwork, especially the back inlay photo, with agory image of decapitated camel and goat heads. That looks odd and somehow I just feel like it doesn’t even fit to the whole album. Who cares, I guess.
Standout tracks: “The Age of Chaos”, “Bloodsoul”, “In the Dead of Night”
Final rate: 80/100