As Blood Rains From The Sky... We Walk The Path Of Endless Fire
Metal Blade Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/14/2000
I swear, I don't think I'm asking for much. My demands are quite reasonable, and there's no reason why a good faith effort can't be made to accomodate them.
All I want is for practicioners of death metal to try and break loose from the tired formula it seems like all bands are following. These days, it seems like every single grindcore/death metal disc I listen to is exactly the same damned thing I listened to the disc before.
The latest band from this assembly-line mentality is Sweden's Fleshcrawl, As Blood Rains From The Sky... We Walk The Path Of Endless Fire. (Geez, guys, you study the latest Fiona Apple disc before choosing a name for this one?) This quintet take the same ingredients - lightning-fast drums, heavily distorted two-guitar attack and a singer who sounds like he swallowed the microphone with a Drano chaser - and beats them to death mercilessly. Grindcore fans should be soiling themselves with delight; I somehow expected a little more.
My early hope for this disc came when I read the lyrics and found them to be a little rawer than your typical death metal. Ooh, I thought, we might just have a slightly new spin put on this genre! Wrong; after the Gothic-inspired instrumental "March Of The Dead," Fleshcrawl turn on the juice with "Path Of Endless Fire".
To be fair, things start out okay; Bastian Herzog's trap work reminded me a bit of Napalm Death's glory days. And give Sven Grok (sorry if I'm misspelling any names; I've never been able to read calligraphy well) some credit in that you can occasionally understand just what he's grunting about. Admittedly, that's something that's not typical of grindcore.
The problem with As Blood Rains... is that it gets too comfortable in their own style, and they musically seem to push the cruise control button far too early in the disc. Tracks like "Under The Banner Of Death," "Embraced By Evil" and "Impure Massacre Of Bloody Souls" might have had the possibility of being something special and unique, but thanks to a cookie-cutter attitude toward the music, it all gets lumped together in one demonic mush.
It's not necessarily that Fleshcrawl is bad; it's that they are following the same formula that hundreds of bands have been doing for at least the last 10 years. I know it is possible to inject new blood into the plan and make things sound brand new - and I'm not referring to re-inventing the wheel. Lungbrush did just that by daring to put a little humor into the mix, though whether it was intentional or not has yet to be decided. Fleshcrawl needs to find their own personal ingredient to throw into this musical primordial soup to give it their own spin. Until they can do that, though, they seem to be doomed to take a number and stand in line with the rest of the bands.
As Blood Rains... dares to hold out a little hope to listeners before cruelly yanking it away from them. While this is not a terrible album, it is far too similar to all the other dreck that has been released in this genre. And in a genre like grindcore, to be average could well be the worst sin of all.