Thursday, December 29, 2016


Critical Mass Recordings
Released May 16, 2016
Don't let the name fool you. Obvious and unintended or intentional puns aside, if you disregard this one on name alone, you're missing out on a great release from start to finish. I wasn't sure what to expect going into giving this one a spin, but if there's any doubt these guys are not serious, it quickly becomes evident when you hear the material that they should be taken seriously. With a brooding and menacing atmosphere, and a varied approach in their attack, The Pete Flesh Death Trip's, Svartnad, is a ferocious display of blended elements that conjure up a uniquely visceral output of no nonsense Death Metal. The songs are crafted with a keen sense of achieving a certain imposing and foreboding mood, and yet these guys are no one trick pony. Riffs that trudge along in a dark and doom-laden aesthetic evolve into all out Death Metal passages, and vice versa. This keeps the atmosphere prevalent and predominant throughout the album, but also offers the listener plenty of variety to keep things interesting. The band manages to walk a fine line between styles here much in the same way Celtic Frost had done so throughout its existence, but they've managed to accomplish this while also acquiring a sound all their own which prevents them from being a recycled or rehashed version of a ghost from the past. There are qualities that bring forth certain aspects of bands like Ulcerate, Celtic Frost, Dissection, Dismember, and even early At The Gates (as far as some of the guitar work goes). That is to say, that the guitars have that Swedish buzzsaw sort of tone to them, but to simply draw these comparisons for the sake of explaining the sound, really doesn't quite do this release justice. I hear bits and pieces of some of these examples strewn throughout this album, but it is far from a regurgitation of the familiar. What it is, is a different monster that has been beckoned from the depths, that has shades of the familiar to it, but undoubtedly stands on its own and pushes things forward rather than attempting to relive or recapture the past. It turns out, this is the solo project of one, Pete Flesh, who you may known from such acts as Flesh, Deceiver, Thrown, and Maze Of Torment. What it is, is a beast forged by the hands and mind of someone who has been around this style of music and is comfortable with utilizing that experience to create something new and interesting. The songwriting is strong, the musicianship is admirable, and the end result is absolutely worth your time as something you should subject your ears to. There is not a bad track on the album, but so far I'm partial to "Burial Shore", "The Sun Will Fail", "Melting The Frost From Your Eyes", and the closer, "Svartnad". I will be listening again. Sometimes the unexpected is exactly what you need to break the monotony. If you've ever been in a record store and taken a chance on an unknown band because maybe their artwork jumps off the shelf at you, brought the album home, and proceeded to have your mind blown-then, you'll understand why I prefer to go in blind when reviewing bands I'm not previously familiar with. I prefer to let the music do the talking first. The fact that this is a solo effort makes it all the more impressive in my mind. There are no puns to be found here. The only joke is on you if you skip over this one. -Alan Lisanti

Track list:
1. In Ruinam Iniquitas
2. Burial Shore
3. All The Serpents
4. The Sun Will Fail
5. Melting The Frost From Your Eyes
6. The Winter Of The Wolves
7. She Dwells In The Dark
8. Svartnad

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