Finally, Flesh Mother has graced us with a release date for the upcoming album, Nourishment. On January 20, 2018 at the Hub in OTR, Flesh Mother will ring in their release with a show. Being a band with live shows as memorable as Flesh Mother, I was looking forward to previewing their latest studio recorded work and how they would transfer their live set energy to the confines of a studio. Needless to say, Nourishment does not disappoint.
Nourishment kicks off his tracklist with High Power. The first moments of the track consist of a slow buildup of feedback and drums. Afterwards, we are subjected to the full force of Flesh Mother with the full band blasting through the speakers. For a relatively short song, High Power serves as a perfect first track, with the brief build up followed by the high energy we have come to expect from the metal band.
In a seamless transition, we move on to Lizard King. On this track, we hear the two vocals of Flesh Mother in John Hays and Tyler Bollinger. Immediately I was impressed by the sound of John’s now recognizable low vocals paired with Tyler’s higher vocals. John and Tyler take turns growling out the lyrics, which include allusions to a New World Order and the titular Lizard King, while the band continues with their heavy sound.
On Hounds, Flesh Mother steers slightly into doom metal, particularly in the opening moments of the song. With lyrics commenting on one’s blood being sucked out and sold for cheap, we get some interesting images of hounds patrolling the streets. Overall, the speed after the opening appears to be the most punk-leaning song on the record.
At the beginning of the album’s fourth track, Disgusting Creatures, I begin to notice the almost unnoticeable transitions between songs. Each song has flowed into the next on Nourishment. On Disgusting Creatures, we hear some social commentary on the writer’s perception of humankind, with the final words being “you’re no human, only a sickness.” This is all over heavy instrumentation come to be known of Flesh Mother.
The social commentary appears again in Sick World Sick Shit. This song starts with a speed making you want to mosh into the first thing you see, followed by wanting to headbang while yelling along to the lyrics: it’s a sick world of sick shit. Track five is a stand out of the record. The energy level of this song makes you forget you’re not listening to Flesh Mother live, rather a studio recording. As mentioned, this was one of my biggest questions going into the Nourishment. On Sick World Sick Shit, the energy of the band bleeds through your speakers for a satisfying Flesh Mother experience.
Graves stands out for his subdued heaviness. As heavy as the rest of the album, the tempo is slightly less aggressive, with the guitar and drums taking center stage over lyrics about feeling numb.
At a cool 3:51, Felt Death is the album’s longest and last song. Here, we again hear the vocal exchange between John Hays and Tyler Bollinger. Battling between the good and evil within a person, this track explores the dilemma of knowing something is wrong, but the wrong feeling good. The album closes with Hays and Bollinger asking the listener: have you ever felt death. Truly a fantastic closer to the high energy album!
As aforementioned, Nourishment does an amazing job with two things: bringing the energy of a live show to the listener and making the transitions between songs seem seamless. This is aided by the production of John Hoffman and Jerome Westerkamp. With the transition between songs flowing so well together and the maintained energy throughout the album, you would think this was a live recording of a show (sans the crowd yelling along). However, the listener would be quick to differentiate for one particularly good reason: this album sounds amazingly clean. Every instrument gets full attention. That being said, enough distortion is left to preserve the sludge nature of Flesh Mother. I am highly impressed by the production of this album.
On Nourishment, Flesh Mother seems to have a firm grasp on their collective image and sound. There is no song that feels out of place, with each song playing nicely where it’s located. The album’s artwork (done by Tyler Bollinger) all seems to have a collective idea as well, with every image fitting with the album’s sound. Although each song is different and a great listen, I recommend listening to the album as a whole rather than nitpicking songs to play. Individually, each song on Nourishment can stand its ground. But it is when it's all played together that Flesh Mother’s Nourishment becomes a rewarding experience.
Catch Flesh Mother’s release show for Nourishment on January 20, 2018 at The Hub in OTR at 8:00 PM!