Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fleshcrawl - Soulskinner

So many people know about Fleshcrawl. Yet only a handful of those people are actually familiar with their music. Well for those of you that don’t know where to start with these German fuckers, Soulskinner is the place to start. But the reason why people read album reviews isn’t JUST to know what and what not to get, it’s to find out WHY they should or should not get a particular album. This was my first Fleshcrawl record and, to be honest, I’m glad it was, because although Soulskinner has several strong albums, none of the others even compare to the crushing power of this one. Making their first appearance in 1991 with a four-song demo tape under the name Suffocation (for obvious reasons, they had to change it due to the brutal death band that was rising out of New York City at the time), Fleshcrawl got their name out mainly in western Europe where they opened for bands such as Bolt Thrower, Benediction, and Sinister on small European tours and shows.

But enough history, Soulskinner is the topic of the hour! Fleshcrawl uses one of my favorite types of guitar distortion, which is probably the loudest and crunchiest guitar distortion out there in the death metal world. This guitar distortion is also used by Swedish death metal masters Dismember and Demonical. Along with the music already being fucking intense, the guitar distortion infinitely intensifies the music. The guitarists themselves are very solid and have just the right amount of skill and creativity for the traditional death metal genre. In fact, they play death metal SO well that I can’t really imagine them doing anything else. The bassist is right on the dot with everything that he plays and writes. He mainly follows the basic root-note of the chords that the guitarists are playing (although he’s the only one playing them sometimes).

The drummer and the vocalist are the best musicians on this album. The drummer is virtually flawless. He doesn’t do anything amazing or outstanding, but he’s fucking flawless. His kick drumming is NEVER out of time, the way that he plays is filled with power, brutality, and obvious skill and practice. If I had to put my money on which member I thought worked the hardest, it’d be the drummer without a doubt. The vocalist’s growls are fucking outstanding. When it comes to traditional death metal (with the exception of bands like Obituary, Death, and Divine Heresy), I like to hear deep and powerful exhaled growls that send chills down my back. The vocalist on Soulskinner passes that test with flying colors and proves to be a near-perfect example of what a death metal growl SHOULD sound like. On top of that, his screams are crisp and have a unique edge that reminds me slightly (and I mean SLIGHTLY) of Kataklysm’s screams.

Other than that, everything about this album is exactly what you would expect from a good traditional death metal album. The song structure, tempo changes, and overall sound burst with the classic death metal sound we’ve all loved since its formation in the mid-1980s. For those of you that are looking for a good, classic, and pure death metal release, Soulskinner should be on your “to-get” list. I would give Fleshcrawl’s Soulskinner 16/20 for being a VERY solid death metal record and to be my first Fleshcrawl recommendation.