FLESHKILLER - Awaken
Fleshkiller is a new side project of Extol frontman Ole Borud, since Extol went back into hibernation after their excellent self titled album in 2013. Ole started the band with his old band-mate Peter Dalbakk. Dalbakk was in Vardoger, and both were in Schalich together. Ole Vistnes (Shining, Tristania, Extol) plays bass, and Andreas Skorpe Sjoen (Umpfel) plays the skins.
Dalbakk left and Borud struck up a conversation with Elisha Mullins (The Burial singer, former A Hill to Die Upon guitarist), whom he shared a common record label with (Facedown) and thus began the transatlantic super group of sorts. Musically, Fleshkiller closely follows the highly technical death metal formula that Extol is known for, and shares the penchant for progressive rock influences and Yes — like clean vocal harmonies that the self-titled Extol album brought us. If you liked that direction, you'll love this project. It's not mellow by any means, but the prog rock vocals on some songs, especially the opening track "Parallel Kingdom" and "Secret Chambers," really add variety to the death metal diet.
Ole Borud and Elisha Mullins sharing vocal duties also adds a dynamic that keeps the listener interested. Lyrically, Fleshkiller points repeatedly towards redemption, with lyrics like "Return to the Originator. Open the door to everlasting Life." ("Parallel Kingdom") and "Love your enemies. Bless the ones who curse you. Pray for those who persecute. The children of the Most High...Salt of the earth. You are the Carriers of Light." ("Salt of the Earth") starkly contrasting the negative lyrics of most mainstream extreme metal bands. "True Image" is a worship song.
Fleshkiller might be described as a whole lot of Extol, built on the legacy of highly technical bands like Believer, with a bit of The Burial or Becoming the Archetype, blending classic prog rock like Yes, ELP, or Genesis in, to come up with a different sound, like Between the Buried and Me or latter Kekal have done. Excellent album. Certainly they are a candle in a dark place. (Facedown/Indie Recordings) 3.5 out of 5 stars