E.P. Review: Flayed Disciple - A Hell In Living Flesh
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
This is a band I never thought I’d hear of again. Having last seem them performing with Bonded by Blood in 2014, they disappeared from sight and sound until shoots started to slowly appear via social media prior to and during the pandemic. Well, the good news is that the Wiltshire quintet are back with one of the most ferocious slabs of death metal you’ll hear all year. Imagine sticking your head in a cement mixer whilst being bashed by a piece of 2x2 and you’ll get a semblance of the impact that this band deliver.
There’s been a few changes in the Flayed Disciple camp since 2014 with the arrival of vocalist Merv Hembrough the biggest. His urgent, aggressive delivery certainly ensures that once heard, this E.P. is difficult to forget. Alongside Hembrough, original drummer Phil Tolfree has returned having left the band in 2013 and he brings the hammer with a punishing battery that rarely slows.
The E.P. comprises five tracks and lasts for 27 minutes. Opening song ‘I Am Leviathan’ brings a pounding groove to the album, something that’s a little cleaner than their dirty death metal of the past but don’t be fooled. ‘Arch Contaminator (1985)’ is a rampaging express train stopping at zero platforms. It’s absolutely bruising, and yet there is a clear melody that lurks underneath the explosive and schizophrenic pace. It veers crazily from thrash to machine gun paced death metal with such a fluid switch of gears that it’s hard to really grab all that is going on in the first couple of listens. Once you’ve managed to get the seatbelt on, you’ll realise that this track is an absolute monster. A huge time change into slower, crushing riffs towards the latter part of the track along with jackhammer drumming mix things up a good bit, with elements of Slayer shrieking out of the speakers.
It’s evident from the opening salvos that Flayed Disciple are making up for lost time and Hembrough’s varied and consistent delivery has brought a ferocious attacking edge to the band. The band’s self-titled song is a blistering three-minute aural assault. Ferocious, addictive and utterly pleasing, this is an old school meets new school track and it punishes the cranium with a piledriving attitude and savage snarling delivery.
It's not all punch in the face delivery though, with the epic chug that introduces ‘The Dark Other’ channelling some inner Sabbath before the song erupts into another groove laden breakdown. And it maybe the willingness to change their sound slightly from that earlier rawer death metal sound to a slightly more accessible approach. But don’t let that suggest to you for one second that Flayed Disciple have gone soft for this is stupendously heavy, fiery, and brutal. It’s an E.P. that gets better on every play and its good to have Flayed Disciple back and firing on all cylinders once again.