It seems as though every other day a new death metal record emerges to further the scenes ongoing renaissance, yet even in these heady days of underground supremacy, Afterbirth’s Four Dimensional Flesh is a flagrantly subversive and deeply unpleasant statement of intent. Coming across like Internal Bleeding after a cocktail of particularly mind altering drugs and a few gallons of moonshine, these are tracks informed by the brutal death alumni (Pyrexia, Devourment et al), yet with a progressive streak a mile wide and incorporating everything from Cryptopsy to Cynic to Demilich, and even vague touches of Pink Floyd and King Crimson.
And so, whilst it may be true to say that brutal death metal does not generally promote cross pollination or progressive ideas, Afterbirth offer a rare glimpse of how all need not be as hopelessly one-dimensional as we might assume. Just check out the likes of ‘Girl In Landscape’ or ‘Dreaming Astral Body’, (both sublimely cinematic interludes which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Porcupine Tree record), the Akercocke-esque firestorm ‘Everything In It’s Path’ and the space rock instrumental wig-out of the closing title track for proof positive that this is about as far away from your typical blood ‘n’ guts slam as you can get.Make no mistake however, the band can still lop-limbs with the best of them (see ‘Never Ending Teeth’ and ‘Spiritually Transmitted Disease’ for two particularly prime cuts of horrid, gelatinous noise), yet above this Four Dimensional Flesh is a genuine house-of-mirrors oddity, and one of the most memorable extreme metal releases you will hear in 2020.
Four Dimensional Flesh is out now via Unique Leader Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Tony Bliss