(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by Deeds of Flesh, which was released by Unique Leader Records on December 11th.)
I have the honor to write about a band who are considered a classic act by fans of Brutal Death Metal, a band who came to life back in 1993 in Los Osos, California, and whose music has transcended the test of time and inspired many bands in both the BDM and Tech scene.
I remember while living in the Dominican Republic discovering their 1996 debut album Trading Pieces and being blown away as the music started. It left an everlasting impact on my life.
In succession they released classics such as Inbreeding the Anthropophagi, Path of the Weakening, Mark of The Legion, and Reduced to Ashes, all of which that for me represent their best material. Although their music was always rooted in Brutal Death Metal, I detected technical sections in songs here and there. In the subsequent releases, Crown of Souls, Of What’s to Come, and Portals to Canaan, those technical elements became more present in their sound, and some of the more BDM-oriented fans weren’t happy about that. Regardless, I think the change was done with taste, and that is what the band wanted — props to them for maintaining their vision.
Their change in musical direction allowed them to gain another fan base and inspired newer bands who are more Tech/Death, and in that scene the later releases became classics as well, and led new fans to discover their older material. Erik Lindmark (founder, vocals, and guitars) was the main force in the band, and through the chances in lineup andsound, he was able to implement his vision as he wanted with the help of very talented musicians who brought something special to Deeds of Flesh.
Unfortunately, Erik Lindmark died in 2018 and many musicians and fans around the world felt this loss. Before his passing he was working on what would become the new album Nucleus. With fellow musicians who had been part of Deeds and numerous guests, the band finished what I consider to be their last release (more on that in a bit). To think that Jacoby Kingston, bassist and vocalist on the early Deeds albums. came out of retirement to do vocals for the new release, and the album also includes the work of drummer Mike Hamilton, guitarist Craig Peters, bassist Ivan Munguia, and drummer Darren Cesca, along with all the guests.
Nucleus is a continuation, lyrically and musically, of Portals of Canaan and Of What’s to Come. With that said, fans of the old releases are probably not going to enjoy this new album, though maybe they will appreciate some aspects of it. On the other hand, fans (like me) who enjoy both the early records and the later ones won’t mind at all. The album is 40 minutes of tech prowess, full of great and consistently engaging riffs, drumming that’s handled perfectly, and impressive low-end performances on bass. The clean production does justice to the instruments as they shine in each song; sometimes that approach doesn’t work for other bands, but in Nucleus it does. The vocals are also just great, and a wonderful example of how to make a marriage with the music work.
I want to take a moment and provide the track list with the guests who performed on them, as they also played a huge role in their tribute to Erik Lindmark:
- Alyen Scourge
- Ascension Vortex (featuring Decrepit Bill Robinson, Obie Flett, Anthony Trapani)
- Catacombs of the Monolith (featuring Luc Lemay)
- Ethereal Ancestors (featuring George “CorpseGrinder” Fisher)
- Nucleus (featuring John Gallagher) (guest solo from Matt Sotelo)
- Races Conjoined (featuring Matty Way, Frank Mullen, John Zig)
- Terror (featuring Dusty Boisjolie and Robbe Kok)
Some of those names might not be familiar to everyone, but the bands those musicians are or were a part of include Arsebreed, Cannibal Corpse, Decrepit Birth, Dying Fetus, Suffocation, Pathology, Odious Mortem, Inherit Disease, Iniquitous Disease, Images of Violence, Sarcolytic, Serpentian, Disavowed, Disgorge, Cineary, and Liturgy.
As I mentioned earlier, for me this feels like the final album, and after this Deeds of Flesh should be no more. Nucleus is a great way to pay tribute to a man whose music has passed the test of time and impacted so many lives in the process. As time continues to pass the music shall continue even though Lindmark is no more. We can close our eyes while we listen and remember the feeling when we first discovered the band. So if you like the old stuff only, go and listen and stick to that part of his legacy. For others who enjoy both old and new, we shall do the same.
DEEDS OF FLESH: