FLESHCRAWL / SKINNED ALIVE - Tales of Flesh and Skin (BRUTAL ART Records / FDA Rekotz CD 2016)
Well… for me personally this split was something I really was looking forward to grab. Why? Because it brings Fleshcrawl back to our chambers of torture! It’s been way too many years since they released their last album “Structures of Death” – it was already back in 2007!!! They never split up, just got very quiet. Luckily with “Tales of Flesh and Skin” Fleshcrawl is (hopefully) back for good. Great news, for me personally, because I consider them to be my favourite German death metal band of all time, I have all their CDs, so it just felt weird to see this current old school death metal movement going without such important and exceptional band like Fleshcrawl. “Tales of Flesh and Skin” is a split release, with Skinned Alive, which I have not heard before. It’s interesting that this split was first released on digipak by Brutal Art Records, in only 300 copies. I grabbed a copy quickly, because all Brutal Art releases get sold out rather fast. It turned out that later that also an unlimited jewel case version was released, but by F.D.A. Rekotz, so the hurry was maybe not so needed… but at least I have sort of rare CD version now in my collection!
Fleshcrawl comes with four new tracks. And well, they sound exactly as I would expect. This band had quite strong Swedish sound on their last albums and it’s still here. It still smells like Swedish crypt, but damn, it sounds so bloody nice. I know that these days we have many bands that play similar stuff (also in Germania!). And probably there are some that are just as good as Fleshcrawl. But for me Fleshcrawl is special band, so I am only super excited about all these new songs, especially if they’re so damn good as “Return of the Flesh” or “Kingdom of Skulls”, which sound like a classic Swedish death metal anthems. It’s very solid, very aggressive and powerful death metal played in one of my favourite styles, so I must like it a lot. Good performance and songwriting, nice production… definitely I cannot complain on anything here. Nice comeback from this band.
It’s the first time I hear Skinned Alive music and I’m glad that they’re really damn awesome. Stylistically this German project – run by just one dude, Ferli Thielmann from Miseo and Milking the Goatmachine – is very close to what Fleshcrawl presents, so it was a nice choice to have both bands on a split release. I like how Skinned Alive combines aggressive and heavy tunes with some melodic leads – something what is obviously a trademark for Swedish death metal style, but not everyone is able to make it right. Thielmann (who recently completed Skinned Alive line up into full band) surely did great job. I like his songs (my favourite is surely “Lingchi” – what a killer piece of death metal!!!), I also like the sound quality, I absolutely worship this sort of riffs and harmonies… Definitely this is just superb stuff and even if it doesn’t bring anything new to this genre, it still kicks ass strongly and should be an exciting feast for the fans of this style of death metal. I am impressed!
Standout tracks: “Return of the Flesh”, “Kingdom of Skulls”, “Lingchi”, “Lifeless Flesh Released”
Final rate: 85/100