Writing about sludge is sweet nostalgia for me since the first music review that I ever wrote covered Acid Bath‘s discography. Today’s highlight is a Finnish banned named Fleshpress. They’re a very interesting case since Finland is not exactly known for their doomy sludge bands. That being said, this band has managed to gain underground fame partially due to their drummer who is none other than Mikko Aspa of Deathspell Omega and several other projects. The other half of the equation is the fact that no other sludge band has ever had songs over 15 minutes long to my knowledge. In fact, once you hit past the 10 minute mark, you’re usually encroaching on doom and stoner territory. Aside from the unusual length of most songs, they vary in tempo with the longer ones having a clear doom element. What firmly places this band within the sludge genre are the screeching guitars that bleed in each track. Vocal work is comprised of forlorn wails with some harmonious ethereal interludes in certain songs.
Their discography includes four full-length albums, three split albums, three EPs, and one demo. Sadly, some of their work is not available for purchase even from their record label Kult Of Nihilow.
The album that I’m focusing on today is their very elusive self-titled work that came out in 2002. The opening track begins with a classic rock drum beat which paves the way for the heavy doom that permeates the entire album. Second track is over 13 minutes long and continues on the heels of the heavy doom of the first song, but it very slowly changes into an assault of screeching guitars and spacey distortion. Tracks after this are faster paced and the climax of the album is the fourth song, “Jumibian Bongoloid.” The album slows down and resolves itself in the track after that which has a very unique title to it: “( )”.
Overall, the songs don’t concentrate on vocal work. They are sparse and completely unintelligible. You get the feeling, as it is with a good deal of bands that I listen to, that the vocals are nothing more than another instrument to add dimension to the final piece. Understanding the words being said isn’t necessary. Also, there are either clearly spoken short segments or short sound samples in each song, I can’t tell which it is.
It’s a very satisfying album with a clear progression so song order is deliberate. It’s always gratifying to know that there was thought put into assembling an album. It can be bought here and only here: http://www.shiftyrecords.com/mailorder/