Acid Mouth Strangulation
Release: 26 October 2011
Label: SVART Records
Avantgenre: Open Air Gloom
Official site: None
Review online since: 16.02.2012 / 21:39:06
FLESHPRESS, formed in Finland's Lahti in 1998, have over the course of five full length albums and several EPs and split releases forged an incredibly heavy and negative path. Suffocating dirges of the Finnish winter night depression, you know what it's about.
What is interesting with FLESHPRESS is that, unlike so many other bands in the heavy as hell-genre, they stand solemnly at the crossroads of many parallell styles of heavy music. Over the course of the 70+ minutes their fourth LP "Pillars", which was my introduction to the band some year ago, they shift from crushing elephant funeral marches to Celtic Frost/Darkthrone-similar black metal, via bleak industrial soundscapes to psychedelic motorik jams to pretty groovy sludge-stoner pieces. But without losing coherence; the KHANATE/HAWKWIND cross-over (oversimplification of course, but you get what I mean) actually does work. This impression was only deepened by the 2010 EPs "No Return" and "Rebuild/Crumble". This diversity is very much a strength, considering how bland and uninspiring the "heavy and slow as bleeding shit possible for the sake of it" kind of thing becomes (if it ain't TYRANNY or KHANATE I don't really care, honestly).
So, when "Acid Mouth Strangulation" was released by SVART Records (also guilty of HEXVESSEL's debut and a lot of doom vinyls) I was more than thrilled. Unlike it's relatively accessible predecessors, this album is more ambient and wide in its aural range. The bass isn't as elephantine, and the guitar work is more sparse; disharmonic and twangy chords and melodies strummed and decaying in their own pace. Mikko Aspa's drum patterns are quite playful, given room to elaborate over the elongated sequences without turning repetitious or overbearing. Marko's vocals (also guitarist and probably chief of the band) are mainly a raspy scream, angst-ridden and aggressive and hopeless and in despair (far from the romantic guttural clichés of the funeral doom genre).
In style, they seem to have progressed quite a bit. Opener "Glass Trails" is most of all comparable to the post-hardcore/metal/whatever/NeurIsis surging trudge so popular a couple of years ago (though not succumbing to the meaninglessness so common a couple of years ago), whereas the shortest track, "Copper Eye" (5.28) approaches Deathspell Omega's open chord angularity (slightly guilty by association...). Closing 20 min "Oblivion Persistent" relates to the openness mentioned above.
Some new paths explored it seems, with a few moments that I can't say I'm too particularly fond of, but still a solid release, not suffering from the variation offered. Again, that is FLESHPRESS' strength - they let the music breathe and pulse by itself, rather than forcing the shifts in sound and style, from bleak landscapes to suffocating tombs and whatnot. The soul-crushing darkness presented is real and honest, not some Lovecraftean horror fantasy or indulgent whiny self-pity. Anyone into HEAVY music would be a sucker to leave FLESHPRESS unnoticed.
1. Glass Trails
2. Copper Eye
3. Oblivion Persistent