Review Summary: Floridian newcomers don’t pull any punches.
Florida’s Works of Flesh is currently comprised of two guys, vocalist Ray Jimenez and multi-instrumentalist Francis McMahon. Despite being fairly new on the scene they’ve managed to pull in some big names for the recording of their first EP, the punishing “Plagued” EP, such as Devil You Know’s Francesco Artusato and former Chimaira axe-man Emil Werstler, and from the quality of their material you can see how they were able to attract such big names to a new project.
Flying out of the traps with ‘Rotting on the Inside’ the band show off an array of technical riffs, pummelling rhythms and throat shredding vocals from Jimenez, with the added bonus of a guest solo from The Black Dahlia Murder’s Ryan Knight. You know what you’re in for after the opening minute. Melodies to begin to creep in later in the EP, and we’re even treated to some unusual moments for a death metal album, such as the surprise appearance of a saxophone, which is a rarity in such aggressive metal.
The extended play follows the tradition of modern progressive-inclined death metal by letting in a short interlude track, the haunting piano led ‘Comatose’ but many of the old tropes of death metal are given an unique spin which keeps the whole thing interesting and prevents the band from being treated as “just another death metal band”. The saxophone, low-tuned riffs and immense technicality combined with a keen ear for melody makes the whole thing a fantastic listen from start to end. Even the appearance of Per Nilsson (from the much maligned Scar Symmetry) is a nice touch, with a rather beautiful solo on ‘Hex of Departure’.
Overall, Works of Flesh have barely put a foot wrong with this EP. For a new project the songwriting is extremely tight and the guest soloists put in terrific contributions which slot perfectly into the music without trying to be its own thing, which so many guest guitarists often fall into. The sheer aggression of this album is worthy of note alone while still being able to retain its melodies, and the saxophone provides a unique touch, complementing the music without being too much of a significant change (see the swing jazz-death metal of Trepalium for that). Well worth checking out.