Review: Fleshdriver ‘Leech’ EP

Crawling from the murky swamps of Tallahassee Leech is the explosive, grimy debut EP from Florida’s newest death metal devotees, Fleshdriver. With an old school, ‘proper’ sounding name that dances on the edge of ridiculous and dangerous, this is a band who gives a nod to tradition yet seek to step away from the past and do their own thing.

Fleshdriver 'Leech'

This short and savage five track ‘demo’ arrives with a statement of intent highlighting the band’s ability to channel a knowledge of jagged, short, stop/start brutality with churning drumming that harks back to some of the ideas of the classic era of death metal and weld them to a hardcore grind that has the grace, and subtly, of a gravel rash to the face from a head on collision with no seatbelts.

Opening with the title track Leech, you’re immediately catapulted back to the death and roll vibes of Entombed with a slow mid paced, atmospheric pounding, awash with histrionic, squealing, guitar work and guttural vocals. It’s almost frustratingly short, but builds a platform for track two, Soul Thirstto ride in on a riff that can only be described as imperious. The production has a few spotty issues for me, but by the time the blast beats start raining down and blows on your ear cavities, this seems like a small complaint.

Operating more on the mid ranged end of the Swedeath scene, than say the breakneck of Carcass, Leech is surprisingly hooky as Kingdom Of Rats (probably the stand out track here) even has a touch ofSlayer flair, which augmented the superb lead work with an industrial fuzz and repetition that involuntarily puts a sneer on your lips.

Utterly dystopian and gleefully grim in its outlook, Leech is the perfect soundtrack for an age of social unrest and global uncertainty…

Morte Agiter shows that they’re not all stomp as occasionally they let themselves off the leash and break into the kind gallop and breakdown format that Chimera heavily borrowed on their Impossibility of Reason album. EP closer, The Golden Calf, is almost the aforementioned Entombed remixed by Justin K Broadrick as death metal collides with Streetcleaner era Godfleshthat sadly feels like it ends as soon as it starts.

Leech is Fleshdriver’s first release and even though its little more than a demo that’s been made more widely available via KOTP Recordings and Redefining Darkness Records, it shows flashes of great promise. It isn’t going to change the musical landscape but it definitely has a lot of great ideas being thrown around and with none of the tracks running times troubling the four-minute mark, it’s a case of leaving the audience wanting more.

Utterly dystopian and gleefully grim in its outlook, Leech is the perfect soundtrack for an age of social unrest and global uncertainty. Once death metal hinted at a paranoid future, Fleshdriver are now reflecting it.

Label: KOTP Recordings | Redefining Darkness Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden