Royal Straight Flesh

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For their fourth album, the cleverly titled Royal Straight Flesh, the members of Sweden's Defleshed decided it was time to slow things down a bit and get in touch with their softer side...NOT! Never fear folks, this is anything but a kinder, gentler Defleshed. Rather, listeners get more of the same high-precision thrash-fueled death metal onslaught that they have come to expect from these seasoned, dependable veterans of the Scandinavian scene. In fact, between plugging in their buzzsaw guitars to ignite frenetic opener "Hand Over Fist" and finally careening over the cliff's edge via closer "Brakefailure," the seemingly supernaturally energized trio hardly pauses for breath over the course of 11 songs and 32 minutes. Clearly a disciple of the Reign in Blood/Slaughter of the Soul school of (extreme metal) economics, Defleshed doesn't have time to waste on, well, time. And what rare notions of tempo-shifting dynamics are to be found here (witness "Feed on the Fallen," the title track, and "Blood Brigade" in particular) are limited to slight variations in riffing attack rather than messing with the inexorably nippy percussive foundation. Therefore, if you're hurting for a good sonic bludgeoning, look no further, but fans of more diversified songwriting will likely believe Royal Straight Flesh to be somewhat one-dimensional.

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