Fleshrot – Unburied Corpse Review

Another day, another death metal album. This must have been how reviewers back in the time of my younger youth felt when rethrash brought us swaths of sweaty song-named bands—think Bonded by Blood and Taking Over—who littered the 4th to 5th spots on the local concert circuit. For every Blood Incantation or Astral Tomb that pops along—bands who play recognizably death metal but with a sense of ambition or divergence—there are at least a dozen other Dead and Dripping or Molder style bands that leak out of the collective pool of putrid palm-muted chugs. From this same OSDM ooze Fleshrot has seeped into our sudoriferous sump leaving enough of an odor for me to take a second look in the perennial quest to find the most 1991 of what 2022 has to offer. Will this Fleshrot leave me abnormally deceased or living another day of suffering?

To put it simply, Unburied Corpse hasn’t quite freed me from this mortal coil, but, regardless, Fleshrot has left a curious stain on my nethers. All the same, it’s a longshot to say that Fleshrot has brought the future of death metal. Rather, like the grandson of Master, Fleshrot serves a chunky death metal stew full of ragged riffs and piercing, unstudied lead work—virtuosity is not in their vocabulary. Boasting a spacious master and a mix that supports a fret-rattling four-string that would make Fieldy proud (check the driving plunk of “In Filth and Pain”), Unburied Corpse manages to sound professionally ugly. Though not quite cavernous in its wider coffin, these putrefactive Texans have found a sharpness to their assault that belies the squelch of their aesthetic.

In that sense, Fleshrot is wise to lean on the foul vocal stylings (and general image) of goregrind to help provide this no-nonsense death metal outing with a sinister direction, an urgency. Head corpse Phil Graham propels Unburied Corpse forth with gaggy choke-coughs (“Wrapped in Entrails,” “In Filth and Pain”) and zombie snarls (“Intricate Dissection”) when barked his words aren’t enough. These undead utterances additionally provide a fullness to the demanding space between the drop-tuned drags and piercing whammy squeals. And, though not as prolifically as fellow youngsters in Astral Tomb, Graham isn’t afraid to let unsettling levels of reverb play an important role in the haunting atmosphere that Fleshrot creates (“Wrapped in Entrails,” “Post Burial Extractions”).

Of course, an expression of conciseness requires more than just a short runtime to be exciting—Fleshrot knows this well. Running just under 30 minutes with Unburied Corpse is a sulfurous breeze with the ease at which they pull and push with upstart riffs and siren-led comedowns. At times, Fleshrot hits with hard-stop doomdeath slowdowns as screeching guitars scrape walls alongside ravenous vocals and crushing funeral-paced marches (“Wrapped in Entrails,” “Draining the Liquified Remains”). In turn, the two axemen know when to whip a pit into action with short bangers led by workmanlike leads (“Incricate Dissection”) or the thickest of low-string trem runs (“Unburied Corpse”). Finally, saving the highest price fretwork for last, an early Death rhythm carries the tidal tussle of closing track “Haunted of Sick Depravities” with a twisted grace to the finish line.

Could Fleshrot have thrown a few more bars of wild soloing in? Sure, it wouldn’t have hurt. Could Fleshrot have thrown in a slam or two, particularly on “Unburied Corpse” and the closing track? Absolutely.1 Headliner material? Not this go around. Yet still, what it lacks is part of its charm. Unburied Corpse is an unsubtle, unpretentious slab of grooving death metal that has helped these sordid saplings find a rooting on the ever-updating list of olde-young death metal bands. Naturally, like many before them, they may succumb to the cutaneous rot of which they preach. But, if the decay of time brings success, touring, and more ideas, I have a feeling we will see them again here in the coming years with a bit more of their spewing hearts exposed.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Desert Wastelands (USA) | Me Saco Un Ojo (UK)
Websites: fleshrottx.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/fleshrottx
Releases Worldwide: August 1st, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. There’s always room for a slam. We want more slams!
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