For a lot many fans of Extol, Fleshkiller’s first album has served a long wait. These Norwegian djent tech death metal folks are out with their debut album “Awaken” which was released under the record banner of Facedown records (NA) / Indie Recording (Europe) on the 15th Of September 2017. What started as a side project by Ole Børud (of the progressive metal band Extol) and Peter Dalbakk (of the Vardøger fame) completed their line up when they pulled in Andreas Skorpe Sjøen (of the Umpfel fame) to fill in drums and Ole Vistnes (of the Shining,Tristania fame) to rumble in the bass. Peter Dalbakk eventually called it quits (for familial reasons) and the band saw Elisha Mullins filling in his shoes.
We’ve had a great deal of talented bands from the Scandinavian belt and one thing that’s omnipresent in all their music is strong melody, engaging riffs and catchy chorus, well Fleshkiller’s hasn’t fallen far from the tree and their lyrics suggest Christian preaching. I’ve given multiple listens to this album before writing my review, and that’s not because I was trying to figure out what I must speak of them but because I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of their music.
Without much ado, let me jump on to the first track, “Parallel Kingdom” which starts off with an exhilarating riff on a lower octave in contrast to a high pitched vocals which juggle between clean, screams and guttural expulsions we experience great energy, an ecstatic guitar solo and propulsion as we move on to the next track which has a seamless connect. Yes, I speak of “Salt of the Earth” which amazes us with its clean intro, with a sudden delve into the realms of death melodic screams and a progressive guitars riff gearing up to give you a crazy riff exploding at 1/8 of a second. The drums blast beat throughout alternating to again a clean interlude, giving this song tremendous flavour and uniqueness.
“Warfare” and “Wisdom” kicks off with a ballistic blast beat coupled with some deranged screams and riff that has to get you grooving. The guitars have a rugged flair and the chorus an equanimous melody. Songs like “Awaken” and “Secret Chambers” reminds you that even though this is a death metal album, the focus on clean and melodic vocals has its place here. The guitars have a djent shred to its sound and with its odd time signatures and complex arrangements, this band provokes multitude emotions and thrills in its songs.
“Inherit” looms with a dark riff hanging in which eventually blast full force with all the tech elements that could be brought together on this heavy as metal track. The song arrangements are tremendous intelligent and gives you a sense of complexity as we progress through them. The Guitar chugs would definitely get you head-banging and roughing it up in the mosh. “Evil Eclipse” breezes through with its hyper blast beats and catchy sweep pickings while retaining its true element of death metal.
“True Image” has yet another complex rhythm which keeps the sound on this album interesting, the clean vocals do tend to give this song the occasional break from an otherwise heavy album. I loved the staccato riffs muddled with a hypnotic mild solo on the guitar. The album ends with “Windows of time” which has a refreshing start be it for its catchy intro or the heaviness that is pounded upon or the clean vocals that resonate well with it.
Production : The production on this album is great, the song arrangements are complex although much could have been achieved a with sound shift and a pan effect (my personal opinion). At times I felt that the drums were synthetic and the bass not given its loud and fare share, but I guess that’s something I always lookout for. The sounds been mixed and mastered well and could have not been done better.
Conclusion : This album is full of surprises and knee jerk hooks, thrashes and melodies that catch you off guard. I couldn’t help listen to it over and over again, and list it as one of my favourite top albums of 2017. Don’t miss this album!!
Written by: Ankit Sood
1. Parallel Kingdom
2. Salt Of The Earth
4. Secret Chambers
7. Evil Eclipse
8. True Image
10. Window Of Time
Ole Børud: guitar/vocals (Extol)
Elisha Mullins: guitar/vocals (The burial, A hill to die upon)
Ole Vistnes: bass (Shining, Tristania)
Andreas Skorpe Sjøen: drums (Umpfel)
Video for ‘Warfare’
Lyric Video for ‘Salt of the Earth’
Video (audio) for ‘Awaken’