Towers Of Flesh And Blood – Demo

This is a very strange and interesting demo. The presentation of the band is daringly minimalist even in a climate where daring minimalism is more the norm than a deviation. But even this seems weird: the web pages for the band offer no information beyond a link to download the demo, the tape that this comes on features no art, and even the song titles are non-descript alphabetical designations (apart, of course, from the requisite intro). In some ways, it takes more effort to put together than commissioning a Christophe logo over Toshi art. Says more about the person behind it, too.

And so, similarly, the music itself is as non-descript as the cover art. Yet, somehow, this is a good thing. This is quite a difficult demo to describe. What you are hearing here is a sort of meta-death metal that knows everything about the style but doesn’t connect with it at all. It is composed in a sterile fashion; the riffs don’t merely lack emotion, they go into negative territory with it, creating a sort of musical anti-emotion. I guess you could say the material here sounds like a sort of combination of early Gorguts and early Suffocation, but really, Towers Of Flesh And Blood sounds like every death metal band you’ve ever heard and none at once. It is the essence of what pure death metal is, despite the fact that it is completely unlike anything else out there today.

To describe this music as soulless is a compliment and perfectly apt. There’s no emotion. There is a strange breed of atmosphere, but the music is not ‘atmospheric’ in the way that most would describe the term as such. The intro expresses it perhaps better than anything else: it’s two keyboard notes, reverbed to death and repeated. It has no ‘purpose’; it is an intro to be an intro and nothing else. And so goes the music: abstract, winding death metal that has a clearer vision than just about anything else in the world. Riffs of moderate technicality spiral around like Lovecraftian flying demons over cheap drum machine and growled and death-rattle screamed vocals. It is music without a future or a past, and only a trace of the present.

This is the perfect demo to listen to in the middle of the night while working on some random project. Right when you’re tired to the point of near hallucination is best. Then the sort of emptiness of the music takes on an entirely nightmarish aspect. While other death metal has done its best to become more emotional and passionate, Towers Of Flesh And Blood has gone in the exact opposite direction and crafted one of the coldest and most antihuman death metal releases in years. I can’t even describe it as misanthropic; there’s just a sort of flat violence to the proceedings, a brutality crafted by rigid construction and adherence to structure rather than any real anger. I love it because it is like nothing that I have ever heard before.

Towers Of Flesh And Blood makes me think of the hundreds of death metal bands in the early to mid ’90s who made a tape or two and disappeared. It reflects that sort of aesthetic, not just in sound, but in a brutally nihilistic existence. There’s no info given, there’s no art portrayed, there’s no ‘meaning’ implied. It just exists as its own entity of chaos and negativity, with no relation to anything that exists out there today. I’m not sure if Phillip Puente is some runaway genius or just stumbled upon a very strange and vaguely unsettling music, but I do know that this is a demo that is very much worth your time and attention. This is darker than almost any death metal out there today because it is not trying to be dark. It just exists and draws all the life and vigor away from death metal and leaves it a cold, hard shell, and I love it for it. Support music that is truly horrific.

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~ by noktorn on October 17, 2007.

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