Death metal never ceases to amaze. It's a genre that can encompass so much and yet still stay true to its wonderfully vile roots. There are few death metal bands that really grasp this the way Fleshvessel do. Their new EP, Bile Of Man Reborn is an utterly monumental offering. It fuses the work of bands like Demilich with that of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. In its midst are wonderful interludes inspired by 19th century romantic composers. These interludes can feature anything from violas and harps to lush woodwind sections. This makes for truly spellbinding stuff, but there are some natural limitations on a project this ambitious. This is even more problematic when limited to a single 24-minute long song as this EP is. It's how Fleshvessel navigate these limitations that sets them apart.
Bile Of Man Reborn showcases a group who can seemingly do anything with their instruments. This song will claw at the listener's sanity. Other times it leans towards triumphant and gorgeous bombast. Listeners will find elements of Yes inspired synths rippling away beneath crushing death metal riffs. These fusions are a huge part of what makes Fleshvessel so appealing. The way that the record is broken into three distinct parts also helps one navigate this epic journey. It gives the music a distinct ebb and flow. The band travels from death metal madness, into avant chamber music and then all the way back. It culminates in a gloriously flashy solo. These explorations demand repeat listens. They drive towards unique new interpretations of death metal as a whole. This journey is exciting to follow and seems to only hint at just how talented Fleshvessel are. They are clearly able to bring even more to the table.
It is this willingness to continually bring more that makes Bile Of A Man Reborn a somewhat difficult listen. It is definitely interesting to pick apart the dense layers here. However Fleshvessel sometimes incorporate too many. Having all these influences on one track makes listening to this EP like drinking from the proverbial firehose. One must be prepared for a hugely diverse range of music. Those who are not will be thoroughly cowed. There's sometimes just too much to take in at once and it makes for a bizarre experience. For those who share a similar range of musical interests with the members of Fleshvessel though then this record almost seems like wish fulfillment. For many the goal has always been to bring in this many diverse influences into one overarching work. And so Fleshvessel's greatest weakness is also their greatest strength.
There is a lot to unpack within Bile Of A Man Reborn. Fleshvessel are almost guaranteed to overwhelm first-time listeners with the diversity of what they have delivered. Those who are willing to navigate touches of everyone from Kayo Dot to Shostakovich by way of The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Demilich will find something truly remarkable. While Fleshvessel will alienate most, it seems clear that's part of the goal. This is death metal for a generation of musical schizophrenics excited to ingest all manner of pungent new filth. It may not be for everyone, but it is glorious.