DEATH APOCALYPSE: Scars To The Flesh
Release year: 2022
Label: Human Noise Records
German death metal trio Death Apocalypse were formed in 2019, but the members have been active in bands already during the 90’s and are as such no newcomers. Even though there aren’t really any illustrious bands in the collective CV of Death Apocalypse, you can definitely hear that these guys are no greenhorns.
So, without further ado, let’s scratch beneath the scarred surface of Death Apocalypse’s debut album and see what we uncover…
The first thing that strikes the listener in opening track Inevitable Bloodshed is the guitar tone. There’s a tad of the Swedish dry crunch here, but not too much. Some nice melodies add a bit of flesh on the bone, until the guttural vocals kick in. It doesn’t take long for the listener to get a grip on Scars To The Flesh: this is old school in a mid-90’s, early noughties kind of way.
Though this can’t be called melodic death metal per se, there’s a strong melodic sensibility almost omnipresent on the album. It’s far removed from the worst excesses of the Gothenburg school, but equally removed from the jackhammer brutality of, say, Cannibal Corpse.
The sound of the album reminds me strongly of a lot of then-new death metal bands I came across around the turn of the millennium with a clear but still heavy sound, melodic without being too melodic, and guttural vocals that are more a gruff bark than putrid croaking. Bands who I proceeded to very largely ignore at the time, because black metal was pretty much all I paid attention to back then.
To be honest, I think Scars To The Flesh suffers from a few flaws, the most notable of which is a lack of memorable songs. I’ve spun this album half a dozen times by now, and only Black Oath Of Allegiance with its thrashing start has stuck with me. The rest, sadly, is slightly dime a dozen. This issue is exacerbated by the sligthly monotonous approach the band has. Especially the growls are rather samey.
These points of criticism raised, I’ll point out that Scars To The Flesh isn’t a bad album. The band sound focused and have their musical concept figured out. There’s a solid foundation here, with adept musicianship and solid if not a bit unimaginative compositions. A bit more variation, a bit more dirt and filth in the sound, and just one or two truly killer riffs to lift the songs from “okay” to “hey! what’s this then!”, and Death Apocalypse will be on the right track.