Alchemy of Flesh – Ageless Abominations Review

I love video games. I may be a firefighter, powerlifter, former college football player, and two-time high school shot put state champion, but none of that has prevented me from also being a (literally and figuratively) huge nerd. I’ve spent countless hours questing through Hyrule, Cyrodil, Skyrim, and other Forgotten Realms, and I’ve conquered the world dozens of times thanks to the Civilization franchise. I’m just finally getting around to the dark and twistiness1 of The Witcher III after that game sat patiently in a drawer for over two years while I attended to various real-life responsibilities, and it has not disappointed. Heavy metal and video games are a match made in heaven and hell, so I was immediately intrigued by the promo for Alchemy of Flesh. The brainchild of one Tim Rowland, Alchemy of Flesh is a one-man death metal project devoted to gaming, movies, and nerdy literature. Let’s see if the music on the project’s debut Ageless Abominations is as fun as the subject matter.

Fans of Florida death metal should find immediate satisfaction upon pressing play. Tim Rowland absolutely worships Morbid Angel, a fact made evident by the way the promo blurb enthusiastically proclaims that he uses the same guitar and amp setup as Azagthoth himself, and by the fact that the artwork was created by another of Morbid Angel‘s cofounders, Mike Browning. If that’s not enough, the intro for the embedded Quake-themed “Slipgates to Annihilation” will immediately reveal that Rowland is a card-carrying lifetime member of the Ru-Tan Clan, its churning riff sounding like it would be right at home on a Hate Eternal album or on its partial namesake, Morbid Angel‘s Gateways to Annihilation. The three-minute track is a perfect demonstration of Rowland’s mastery of both the mid-paced and more blistering styles of his chosen source material, and it has been been on repeat for weeks in the 4.0use of 4.0lden, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Holdeneye and her children.

Ageless Abominations succeeds not because it’s a heartfelt tribute to video games and other nerdery, but because it’s a heartfelt tribute to those things without feeling gimmicky or forced — it is first and foremost a death metal record. Rowland is quoted as saying, “if I can write a song about Tomb Raider 2 and make it fit the music, then I can write literally about anything I want.” And he’s not wrong. “Fiamma Nera Rites” is a creeping monstrosity that fulfills that Lara Croftian prophecy, the title of the doomy “Knotters of Entrails” is a direct translation from the Sith language, and “Lobsel Vith” is a Silent Hill-themed bulldozer of a track.

Knowing that this was a one-man band going in, I was honestly shocked at how well-formed and cohesive the Alchemy of Flesh sound is on this debut record. Rowland is an extremely talented man, and a well-rounded death metal musician. His growls have that loogie-in-your-throat sound that I love, his riffs are simply killer, and his drumming is fantastic. Put it all together, and Alchemy of Flesh sounds like it was produced by a full band of competent musicians. Some tracks are stronger than others, preventing me from going overboard with the score, but with bangers like “Lobsel Vith,” “Slipgates to Annihilation,” “Knotters of Entrails,” “Sleeping Chaos,” and “Fiamma Nera Rites” bolstering the core of the album, Ageless Abominations ends up being a satisfying sub-40-minute journey through scenic nerdscapes.

Ageless Abominations is an impressive debut from one-man death metal machine and high-level nerdmaster Tim Rowland. Alchemy of Flesh has a satisfyingly crushing sound and should please fans of Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal who are craving a tasty Floridian morsel.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Websites: alchemyofflesh.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/alchemyofflesh
Releases Worldwide: August 13th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. Yes, this is a Grey’s Anatomy reference.
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