Every now and then, we at The Moshville Times take up albums from newly formed bands and stumble upon an absolute winner. This is what The Flesh have in Dweller. The Flesh are comprised of members of Verwoed, Blood Diamond and Herder all of whom between them cover the realms of stoner, sludge and black metal fairly expansively. In Dweller, The Flesh’s debut EP, they lean more on the black metal sound in the atmosphere, its sonic depth and vocal flavour combined with the more linear, hard-hitting, straight-edged song structures of death metal. It makes for a stunning listen.
From opener “Tot In Den Treure” there’s a prime-cut Sabbath riff to kick off the record, laid over a rumbling bass tone and stomping, doom-paced drums before a terrified scream erupts from the bottomless chasm the reverb-drenched production creates. Before long the band break into a punkier d-beat and a surprising chord progression that lends itself more to modern metal than the early, evil black metal sound that Dweller deals in. Instrumentally there’s little at fault with this album with the black-meets-death sound, mid-paced groove and modern metal riffing.
It may sound very cynical of me to say that something as kvlt as this would definitely benefit from expanding vocally to house a few more draws and hooks, though with more of that, The Flesh could easily explode into the scene that similarly extreme bands like Conjurer are currently occupying. Across the album, there are a few moments where the vocals really lead the tracks, like the intro to “Salax” where a dry, heaving retch pushes the band into the song. Otherwise, largely across the tracklist the vocals are just as much part of the instrument canvas as they are the lead of the songs.
So, I would say it’s fair to deduce that a lot of Dweller lives on the sonic soundscape it creates rather than the specific tracks. Fortunately this is exactly where The Flesh excel with their classic black metal sound inserted within death metal’s song structures and occasional nod to extreme punk. There are a few oddballs thrown in too for good measure. One of the albums highlights; closer “Fire Red Gaze” trades heavily in classic NWOBHM riffs which is in direct contrast to the rest of the record. It serves as an awesome meeting point between hay-day era Venom and the scratchy, earlier Bathory material, performed through a modern vision and a healthy injection of punk. While really bizarre in the context of the rest of the album. it’s definitely a highlight.
Ultimately, in a year where there have already been incredible albums from Watain and Tribulation, the ground that The Flesh covers has already been done to a marginally higher standard. However with a few more hooks, The Flesh could easily reach for the benchmark those albums create and be in that company in the conversation of the best modern albums from that scene. It’s nailed the atmosphere and it’s nailed the sonic direction, but with an upped game in vocal flourishes, this could go much, much further. The fact that this is a debut as well is so very exciting, I personally am going to keep a very watchful eye on where this band goes next and I recommend that anyone dealing in the necro end of metal joins me.
Dweller is out now.