Album Review: Fleshwrought – Dementia/Dyslexia

It is always frustrating when musicians who possess undoubted talent refuse to play to their strengths, opting to embark on a musical path which does not demonstrate their capabilities as effectively as it perhaps should. At times, this could be attributed to Fleshwrought, whose debut album ‘Dementia / Dyslexia’ plays host to some extremely pulsating and exciting death metal, but is somewhat spoiled by a relentless desire to venture into the pointlessly surreal. There is no doubt that the band, consisting of multi-instrumentalist Navene Kopperweis and Job For A Cowboy vocalist Jonny Davy, demonstrate their creativity to such an extent that its existence is undeniable, but it also leads to some utterly bizarre moments which leave the listener in despair, and ultimately, it is these moments that prevent the album from being considered truly impressive.

Without doubt, there are a number of features of ‘Dementia / Dyslexia’ for which Fleshwrought deserve plenty of credit. One of the most significant of these is simply the volume of effort that Kopperweis in particular has committed to the album. The former Animosity drummer is responsible for everything but the vocals, and taking into consideration the complexity of much of the music, this is a remarkable feat.Fleshwrought - Dementia Dyslexia What’s more, Kopperweis is supremely skilled in every instrument he plays on the album. Primarily a drummer by trade, his proficiency behind the kit is especially apparent on the frenetic ‘State Of Desolation’ and the blastbeat-laden ‘Inner Thoughts’. It may surprise fans of Kopperweis’s earlier work to discover that he appears to be equally accomplished on guitar; the use of a haunting, Meshuggah-esque harmonic tone adds an intriguing texture to the chaotic death metal on offer, cropping up during explosive opener ‘Mental Illness’ and the somewhat progressive ‘Weeping Hallucinations’, but in terms of archetypal death metal riffs, Kopperweis’s playing is also superb. He shows real inventiveness in this area on closing track ‘Final Nausea’, his savage riffs making a vast contribution to the delightfully climactic nature of the track as a whole, while ‘Self-Destructive Loathing’ is evidence that the musician is also adept when it comes to crafting high-quality melodies.

Arguably the most striking facet of ‘Dementia / Dyslexia’, however, is the writing. Many of the tracks are constructed in an elaborate fashion, and it is clear that Kopperweis has a knack for structuring a song in such a way that its dynamism is maintained throughout.  For instance, he is able to flood ‘Programming The Herds’ with a seemingly impossible amount of varied riffs, while ‘Self-Destructive Loathing’ is permeated by a multitude of changes in pace and timing. The latter is also notable for marking possibly the finest hour of vocalist Jonny Davy, whose forceful growl is perhaps more at home as part of Fleshwrought as it is as frontman of Job For A Cowboy. His uncompromising, frightening style adds a key dimension to the album, and even those who are not enamoured with JFAC will appreciate the quality that he provides throughout ‘Dementia / Dyslexia’.

It is difficult, however, to wholly admire what Kopperweis and Davy have created here, as their good work is undone by a totally unnecessary tendency to explore some rather unusual musical elements. The intention is commendable, but it appears that Kopperweis has decided to attempt to expand his horizons purely for the sake of it. This would not be a problem if these moments of diversity were suitable accompaniments to the more distinctive death metal on display, but unfortunately for Kopperweis, his efforts to venture into unchartered territory fail emphatically. This is illustrated by the initially promising ‘Inner Thoughts’, which completely loses its way after the introduction of an ill-judged saxophone solo. Furthermore, the momentum of the otherwise fantastic ‘Weeping Hallucinations’ tails off into oblivion when it needlessly concludes with over a minute of mere high-pitched noise, which sounds more like the product of an amateur experimental dance act. ‘Dyslexic Interlude’ and ‘Final Nausea’ are further instances of this inane peculiarity, not to mention the frankly disturbing lyrical premise of the album, which mainly focuses on mental illness. Fleshwrought’s attempts to be clever come off as plain weird, and as a result, it is impossible to gain consistent enjoyment from ‘Dementia / Dyslexia’. There is, of course, plenty of creative and brutal death metal amid the flaws, so the album is far from disastrous, but if Fleshwrought intend to stick around, experienced musicians Nate Kopperweis and Jonny Davy will have to improve considerably on album number two.

Rating – 6

     

About JJPorter

JJ is a 20-year-old student hailing from Scotland, who lives and breathes music. His favourite genres include a variety of styles of metal, as well as hardcore, punk, and just about everything in between. Contact JJPorter on Twitter or via Email.

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