German old-style rolling death band with brutal rhythmic surging and virulent negativity.
flag of Germany Fleshcrawl - Descend Into the Absurd (1992)
Fleshcrawl - Impurity (1993)
Fleshcrawl - Bloodsoul (1996)
Fleshcrawl - Bloodred Massacre (1997)
Fleshcrawl - As Blood Rains From the Sky... We Walk the Path of Endless Fire (2000)
Fleshcrawl - Soulskinner (2002)
Fleshcrawl - Made of Flesh (2004)
Descend Into the Absurd
Black Mark
Production: Dark inundative sound.

Review: Surging monuments to self destruction, these doomy death metal tracks hop deftly from raging blast to drastically delayed satisfaction through reduced tempo and melody, never losing their direct and basic power of concise and strictly phrased themes which emphasize structures in song leading to thematic conclusion. With the searing gut-resonating vocal that powers this work as rhythmic monotone pacing each level of structure with resistant last minute potential, its vector carries the listener through complexity to consistency.


1. Between Shadows They Crawl (2:32)
2. Phrenetic Tendencies (5:32)
3. Perpetual Dawn (6:42)
4. Purulent Bowel Erosion 05:11
5. Lost In A Grave (7:05)
6. Never To Die Again (7:30)
7. Festering Flesh (6:44)
8. Infected Subconscious (6:25)
9. Evoke The Excess (6:56)
Length: 34:50

fleshcrawl descend into the absurd 1992 black mark
Copyright © 1992 Black Mark

Focus propels these explorations of rhythm and tone which often accelerate through gradual increases in intensity of sound and beat to culminations of glorious emptiness, themes slandering each other in a war of consonant but unresolved spaces attracting the gradual building tension of augmented melody. In a dramatic devolution similar to the abrupt cessation of sound in the wide and organic intro which opens the album, songs realize their thematic balance as an external and overpowering change throws the situation into another direction. Their pulsing riffs hide complexity in texture and placement and in doing so achieve an almost sublime integration to the overall motion of the song, as a classical piece might. (Odd men out are Reincarnation, a ripping death metal classic from Finland's Demigod, and a keyboard interlude by Dan Swanö.)

There will never be enough review space to praise the delicate refinement to the songwriting applied to guitar as a lead instrument, since the changes of timbre and string rhythm more than vocals or drums lead the evolution of song as expressed by this band. Their subtlety alongside bold and minimalistic power riffing allows the music to indulge its own paradox and make roaring headcase death metal. Rarely does a band advance songwriting to this degree, especially in a case like this where doom metal and death metal are truly integrated as a useful component of expressing a violently alienated but lucidly divine existence.

Black Mark
Production: Guitar is mashed into grey noise underneath the tinny blasting of a drum and the vocal rumblethunder of a deep bass voice torn to hell and prioritized in the mix.

Review: Anthemic death metal for its chorus of hookishness but distinguished heavy material for its syncopated rolling blasts, driving speed riff tyranny and structural relativity, Fleshcrawl synthesize death metal within the Swedish/eurometal style of fluid phrase exchange in melodic continuity with percussive emphasis. This very pop style evolves within the course of genre and the career of Fleshcrawl, yet here is represented with a backbone of grind and its nihilistic tone centering permissiveness inducing an intrinsic melodic development over the needs of harmony and with it, expected pop song shape.

Most rhythms are a riff pattern and a counter-motion varied over straight up death metal drumming with double-hits for slower intricate grinding segments and neatly incrementalizing double bass underneath high hat pulsing. Reminiscent of grind greats Bolt Thrower who achieved the same epic flattening feel that this material maintains, Fleshcrawl heighten melodic tension and suspend it over a constantly changing texture implying structural motion evolving from within. As such this very deathy music is full of life.

1. From the Dead to the Living
2. Withering Life
3. Reincarnation [Demigod cover]
4. Subordinated
5. Disfigured
6. After Obliteration
7. Stiffen Souls
8. Center of Hate
9. Inevitable End
10. Incineration
Length: 54:39
fleshcrawl - impurity - death metal 1993 black mark
Copyright © 1993 Black Mark

Like a careful dancer in some bizarre sacrifice these tunes move closer to chaos, then relent, then vary an approach and race to the heart of deconstructing in a blasting harangue of hatred with dissonant vocal rhythms jarring its delivery into staggered blasts of pattern. Vocals are low, detuned and sometimes processed, yet deliver satisfying savage hoarse riot commands which accent rhythmic violations in organically changing riff shape. Heavy amounts of rhythmic fast strumming give these riffs a breathing quality accentuated by the careful rhythmic introduction of vocals and layering of drumbeat elements.

Songs converge on coherence rhythmically in the same way each song centralizes despite having misfit and misdirected parts and periodically embarrassing indecisions. The music has an ambient quality in the hypnotic undulation of varying strumming speeds and the textures they imply, as if keying out an elaborate symbolism of the unconscious mind before the riffs or song has even been perceived as cohesive by the listener.

Black Mark
Production: A small but vivid window into a soundspace, this stuff is pretty acoustically flat but maintains good levels of the important sounds and preserves most of the guitar tone.

Review: If classic death metal is your thing, serve up this steak of meaty blood gratification. Violent old-style rhythm riffs of power chords and driving choruses, rumbling verses and virulent solos over structural interchanges within the songs with precision delivery make this work a death metal signature sound with room to grow. What qualifies it however is the adroit use of wide range of patterns shaped to simple rhythms in unsion communicating essential motivation through perceptive emotion, scattering throughout blasting vengeance a sparse poetry of survival.

The music aggressivelylike a darker European version of Sepultura in its rhythmic delivery with the intensity and grandeur of potent death metal. As in the last album similarity exists to Bolt Thrower in some of the tumescent grinding and melodic layering within riffs. Thundering recursion rhythms alternating with smoothly emerging chorus riffs, in the style of the Swedish death metal gods, is manifest here in songs that use basic rock beats over which the strumming rhythms of a few power chords command syncopated attention of the elements of the song. The listen experiences immersion in a rhythm as it cycles and mutates in an encircling, hypnotic paradox of its own genesis.


1. Bloodsoul
2. In the Dead of Night
3. Embalmed Beauty Sleep [Demilich cover]
4. Contribution Suicide
5. The Age of Chaos
6. Recycling the Corpses
7. Nocturnal Funeral
8. Tomb of Memories
Length: 35:04

fleshcrawl - bloodsoul
Copyright © 1996 Black Mark

With most songs the rhythms follow several major types, which are the blasting intense speed passages that often sound like Terrorizer, the pattern introductory riffs and layered melodic outlining that resemble Bolt Thrower, the rolling double-bass suspension patterns not unlike an older American death metal band, the eurometal rock-beat style riff delivery like Dismember and the doomy passages as Cianide or another strident rhythm doomy grind band would use. These are by no means definitive categories but approximations of the style within which Fleshcrawl work their variations, expressing some form of rolling decay and thunderous deconstruction of earth, sky, emotion.

When working within a style after the genre has abandoned it the option of modifying existing paterns or attempting a new articulation shapes the foundation of the resulting output. Fleshcrawl have chosen the former and for that reason this release does not blow minds but suspends them in a reasonable musical experience with lush overtones of conceptualization in the lexicon of death metal. For those who appreciate the simple brutality of elemental death metal these albums are a mostly undiscovered resource. With a cover of a Demilich song entitled "Embalmed Beauty Sleep" from their demos previous to "Nespithe," which here is played as indulgently muscular and accelerated death metal.

Bloodred Massacre
Black Mark
Production: Version of Sunlight-style wall of distortion cut into evenly compressed instrumental streams.

Review: Slicing waves of structure buffet the listener in this abrupt and powerfully abstracted death metal in the Swedish style. Fleshcrawl, with three albums previous under their collective belt built an encompassing structure for their often doomy and consistently melodic raw death metal, in the furthest evolution so far of their highly thematic and atmospheric thunderous death metal.


1. Hellspawn
2. Dark Dimension
3. Bloodred Massacre
4. Awaiting the End
5. The Messenger
6. Through the Veil of Dawn
7. Necrophiliac [Slayer cover]
8. Beyond Belief
9. Slaughter at Dawn
Length: 33:57

fleshcrawl bloodred massacre 1997 black mark
Copyright © 1997 Black Mark

The adept sense of rhythm underlying the placement of phrase within this work gives it muscle for dramatic and often unforseen changes, which on observation from a position of realization of the fundamental patterning to each song, allowing its themes to play themselves out in a stream of riffs complementing a central melody with varying degrees of consonance to a corresponding portion of its progression. Fleetingly tucked into this music are speed metal inspired rhythm changes between loping rock beats to uptempo punk demiblasts, letting a rhythm pulse between two melodies until a fusion is forced by familiarity.

On this album, consecutive iterations of creation have reduced these elements to their bare presentation needs, allowing the essential vision of each song to expand in a wave of pulsing but architecturally defined sounds, inundating the listener with first its powerful nihilism and then its carefully harmonized melodic deconstruction. This, with the almost irrefutable bassy chant of shredded vocals, conspires to make the inherent honesty and hope of these works shine forth as structural communication in the best tradition of the Swedish death metal style.

Production: A full-timbred but subtler version of the production used in earlier releases, a Sunlight Studios transplant which will please the mainstream.

Review: To continue its addition to an expanding repertoire of strikingly "Swedish-sounding" metal in not just production but melody, rhythm,and vocal delivery, the band Fleshcrawl produce an epic in the style of those who having mastered a form decide to play with it on a more broadly accessible level, but here make it succeed with less subtle but more sensually gratifying composition that dedicates its melodic lead composition to the harmonic space allotted through a blues-scale modality providing a convenience of familiar tonal rotation.

Impressively Fleshcrawl hold true to their style while laying out downright catchy, almost pop tunes crafted from a blasting blur of bass and percussion, offering mostly on the second "side" of this CD more intricate fare, including some excellent harmonizations to provide internally melodic, lush metal that is reminiscent of Unanimated. Nicely it is fit together into a consistent package, with the rushing tempo restlessness that made earlier Fleshcrawl an expanding depth of rhythm. The dynamic intensity and neo-classicist atonal composition from previous albums is of varying strength in this new incarnation, with songs ranging from grippingly focused and tense to almost background music like techno or most heavy metal.


1. March of the Dead (Intro)
2. Path Of Endless Fire
3. Under the Banner of Death
4. As Blood Runs From the Sky
5. Embraced by Evil
6. The Dark Side of My Soul
7. Swords of Darkness [Exciter cover]
8. Impure Massacre
9. Creation of Wrath
10. Graves of the Tortured
11. Feed the Demon's Heart
12. The Day Man Lost [Carnage cover]
Length: 39:53

fleshcrawl as blood rains from the sky we walk the path of endless fire 2000 metalblade
Copyright © 2000 Metal Blade

While this is the simplest metal so far from Fleshcrawl, it is also the most audience-friendly, with constant melodic hooks and an aerobic sense of rhythm. Song structures have stretched out to give a clearer view for the media-saturated crowd of what's going on, but despite this and the more rock-n-roll style composition the band maintain a solid death metal focus that, like Entombed's "Clandestine," aims for the grandeur of simple forces in conflict with an epic storyline. This is a far cry from commercial metal sensu Six Feet Under or Amorphis and suggests to the fans of simpler, more "mainstream" extreme music a new direction in which to travel.

fleshcrawl - soulskinner
1. Soulskinner
2. Dying Blood
3. Carved In Flesh
4. Breeding The Dead
5. The Forthcoming End
6. Deathvastation
7. Legions Of Hatred
8. Forced To Kill
9. Rotten
10. Metal Gods [Judas Priest cover]
Length: 43:31

Soulskinner (2002, Metal Blade)
Like some kind of Swedish Deicide, this band press the assault with consistent but well-formed music that demonstrates its basic principles in both aesthetic and content. Using the trademark Swedish distortion and percussive death metal stylings, this band is beginning to resemble its core of hardcore-like, unrelenting intensity music that throbs through cycles in order to establish a consistency which must be violated, then switching into the next of a rotating series of riffs which eventually conclude at an ungentle tribute to their origins. With guttural vocals pulsing in the foreground, well-produced drums lay down a clear rhythm track which is obliterated by the carefully reigned but still vitriolic blasts of distortion that Fleshcrawl are fond of using. Songs often drop from top speed and use death metal conventions of epic but minimal transitions to conclude their themes. High-energy music for intense lives.
fleshcrawl - made of flesh
1. Beneath a Dying Sun (4:41)
2. Made of Flesh (4:03)
3. Scourge of the Bleeding Haunted (3:59)
4. Into the Depths of No Return (4:47)
5. Flesh Bloody Flesh (3:20)
6. Forged in Blood (4:59)
7. Damned in Fire (2:39)
8. Demons of the Dead (3:20)
9. Carnal Devourment (3:57)
10. When Life Surrenders (4:53)
Length: 40:38

Made of Flesh (2004, Metal Blade)
Opening with a New Wave of Swedish Death Metal track played with the chunky, abrupt riffing of an old school death metal band, Made of Flesh fakes you out until the second track, at which point Fleshcrawl maintain their old Swedish style with a few jaunty rock and NWOSDM (basically, melodic heavy metal played rhythmically like death metal) touches. Since their early days, they have opened up to more interesting lead fills, simplified but more intensely spacious dynamics, and a greater harmonic range of the notes that comprise riffs. The buzzsaw sonic spatter of intense distortion is still there, as are the serial rhythm changes (tempo remains, percussion patterns change) and the single-noted tremolo picked rhythm playing, but it has softened into the listenable at the same time like a sharpened knife its simplified fabric has given it a greater chance of impact. Entirely in line with the style achieved on As Blood Rains From the Sky...We Walk the Path of Endless Fire, this album lessens its impact as it gets closer to the comfort zone of its audience and away from its own psychological and musical frontiers.
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