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Album Review: Fleshbore – Malignancy EP

Bands like Fleshbore are what indie death metal scenes are made of. It’s exactly what you are expecting, in all the best ways possible. Drawing from the influence of Cannibal Corpse, Nile and Behemoth in their raw middle-era, Fleshbore’s Malignancy EP packs just enough into its short running time to leave you wanting to hear more.

It’s actually the band’s second release, following up an untitled demo and the single “Dependency” in 2017. If Fleshbore are going to release a full album, they’d better hurry up and do it because Malignancy has more then enough great ideas to go around. Strong songwriting is their biggest asset, helping them avoid the most common pitfall of this genre – endless noodling with nary a riff in sight. A punishingly unrelenting assault to the senses doesn’t hurt things either.

The only frustrating thing about Malignancy is how the production seems to shift from song to song, the untitled introduction being the best example. It’s a shame too, because the song that follows is probably the best on the entire album. “Born” is the sort of track you can listen to over and over again, finding new ways to headbang each time. A catchy central riff drives things forward as drummer Jay Burch flails about like a possessed octopus. It’s a trick repeated on final track “Terminally Ill,” hinting at real potential for underground success. Death metal fans eat this kind of stuff for breakfast, along with their nails-and-puppies.

Some of the rest of the EP’s tracks take a more introspective turn. They work, for the most part. It’s hard to hear “Abyss” and not immediately picture the black-and-white forests of Europe’s great white frozen north. An appropriately chilling prelude to “Curse” the EP’s other great highlight. In other spots though, it can come across as slightly unnecessary, like on “Ruin.” If you’ve got great material, no need to break it up with guitar jams. Stick with the songs.

Where Malignancy will show its true worth is in the live setting. If Fleshbore can translate the tightness they display on a song like “Elegy” to the stage, there’s no doubt they could kick up a storm. Sure it’s not particularly original or groundbreaking, but is that really what anybody wants? It’s here, it rips, and that’s sometimes all there really is to it.

All hail Fleshbore. Go and do your thing.

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