Flayed Disciple are one of a collection of acts currently at the forefront of a recent resurgence in UK death metal talent, having released two fairly well-received demos, and carved a swathe across the live scene at home and abroad. Hitherto, I’ve been relatively disappointed in many of the bands to the fore of this oft-lauded movement, so I must admit to having set my expectations pretty low. The recent release of their video for ‘The Shrine of Dahmer’ did little to gainsay these reservations, my prevalent response being that Flayed Disciple wanted to be Cannibal Corpse, and were little more than the next in an infinite multitude of clone bands.
Having given Death Hammer a spin, however I am suitably satisfied to report that I was a little premature with this assessment. Rather than simply rehashing the same old brutal death metal tropes we’ve all heard a million times before, their approach is much more thrash-oriented than ‘Shrine of Dahmer’ indicates. Right from the get-go, ‘Intro/ Bring Down the Hammer’ bursts into a choppy thrash riff, escalating into flurries of blasting, punctuated with Tim Whyte’s guttural command “Bring down the hammer”. ‘The Westboro Massacre’ continues this trend, throwing out some furious thrash, with solos straight from the Bay Area, and the intro to ‘Feast in the Forest of Impaled Bodies’ comes straight from Ride the Lightning, before descending into similar spasmodic insanity.
At this point you’re probably thinking that combining death and thrash metal is hardly a unique concept. Sure, this is not a new idea, but the execution is actually pretty distinctive, certainly not an approach I’ve ever heard before. Rather than taking the obvious path of blending material inspired by the heavier thrashers such as Kreator, Sodom, Possessed et al, they favour crossover and Bay Area thrash, emphasising the likes of Exodus, Testament and latterly Municipal Waste. Add to this thrash template the more frenzied death metal moments displayed on tracks like ‘Exodus’ (behold the irony!), with its bass-heavy Cannibal Corpse-meets-Blood Red Throne riff barrage, the twisting structures displayed on ‘Feast in the Forest of Impaled Bodies’ and the no-nonsense brutality of ‘Ejaculate Whilst Killing’ and voila! You have Flayed Disciple.
In summation, what sets them apart from a death/thrash band like Morbid Saint is that they draw upon modern bands to create their sound. Although on the face of it thrash has remained fairly consistent since the ‘80s, the sound of modern thrash bands like Gama Bomb or Municipal Waste differs quite markedly from the more prominent ‘80s acts, and owes very little to the first death/thrash bands. However, rather than sounding like either a rehashed Possessed or a growl-happy DRI, they manage to fuse modern death and thrash together to create something wholly unique. This fluidity is largely due to sticksman Phil Tolfree with his versatile technique allowing these potentially disparate elements to segue effortlessly together, and endowing the crossover parts with a newfound ballsy brutality. In this respect, Flayed Disciple have truly created a release which exceeds the sum of its parts.
Flayed Disciple’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/flayeddiscipleband?ref=ts&fref=ts
Grindscene Records’ Website: http://grindscene.co.uk/site/