December 11, 2017

Fleshpress - Hulluuden muuri

Once upon a time, not long ago, it wasn't so easy to find heavy metal bands playing at glacially slow tempos. Around a dozen years ago, I heard Burning Witch for the first time and I haven't been quite the same since.
By Bryan Camphire.


Once upon a time, not long ago, it wasn't so easy to find heavy metal bands playing at glacially slow tempos. Around a dozen years ago, I heard Burning Witch for the first time and I haven't been quite the same since. Thus my quest began. Find something as bleak and depressive and slow as Codeine, but make sure it's loud monstrous and gut-wrenching at the same time. Shortly thereafter, I came across Fleshpress. I figured I couldn't go wrong with a name like that. Sure enough, a taste of this music is enough to make you feel like a starved hellhound with a toothache and an axe to grind.

Finland's Fleshpress has been releasing crushingly heavy doom metal for seventeen years and counting. It bears mentioning that several seminal forefathers of funeral doom hail from Finland - I'm talking of course about Thergothon, Skepticism and Wormphlegm (who later became Tyranny). Fleshpress certainly fit in well with their misanthropic compatriots. They've done their homework and it shows. After all, their name comes from a tune by the late great masters of the form known as Grief. What sets Fleshpress apart, however, is that they are decidedly more unpredictable than their ancestors, peers, really more so than most groups on the map.

This mercurial and innovative bent is on glorious display on their most recent record, Hulluuden muuri. Throughout the entirety of this thirty-three minute set, Fleshpress keep you guessing. At some point their amps may be left buzzing for a stretch of two minutes, not to build tension as other bands do, but more as though they might have left the room to go smoke. Just when you stop to wonder what exactly is afoot they'll decide to crash down like an anvil, break into a blastbeat, and then lock into a slow plodding lurch. These changing modes have counterparts in the song titles of this record, which hint at various themes of power and philosophy (such as, "Lunastuksen ajan veren riitti" - Blood Was Enough for Redemption; "Siintävän totuuden häikäisevä kajo" - The Dazzling Shimmer of the Clear Truth), while at other times simply evoke certain textures (as with, "Hulluuden viiltävä lasipinta" - A Glittering Glass Surface).

Hulluuden muuri is unique in that it's the first release of the band's extensive catalog with titles in Finnish instead of English. It's also noteworthy that it's their first record that they've self-released. They make it clear inside and out: this band has nothing to prove. They don't need you to sing along. They simply put out profoundly strange twisted music full of hopelessness and gloom whether you like it or not.

Now that more outsider groups are garnering much deserved overdue notoriety, like fellow northerners Fleurety and Virus, perhaps Fleshpress will get some of the attention they deserve. Hulluuden muuri is a tremendously weird record of outsider doom metal. Fleshpress breaks from tradition inside and out, from the strangeness of the music itself to the insane album art. Hulluuden muuri translates to The Wall of Dread. Indeed, listening to Fleshpress feels like being inside a building that's about implode. It's a harrowing experience of reality crumbling down on top of you.

Post a Comment: