Defleshed - Royal Straight Flesh
Regain Records
Thrash Death Metal
11 songs (32'14")
Release year: 2003
Defleshed, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

Swedish Defleshed promise to play “solid metal exclusively”. Upon the first listen, I had to agree, this is solid. Upon more spins, there is absolutely no argument. Royal Straight Flesh got all subtleties of a Caterpillar bulldozer. If jackhammer rhythms and superfast-supertight riffing is your thing – read on.

Before Royal Straight Flesh I only heard of Defleshed, but haven’t actually heard their albums. I knew there were two early albums Ma Belle Scalpelle and Abrah Kadavrah, released by Invasion Records (this label managed to sign a lot of promising acts only to run them into the ground). Nuclear Blast even included one of the Defleshed tracks on one of its compilations. The third album Under the Blade came out in 1997, and, as far as I know, it has been licensed to Metal Blade on this side of the pond.

After back and forth line-up hiatus, the band settled into a “power trio” combination of founder and guitarist Lars Lofven, Gustaf Jorde on bass and vocals, and Mathias Modin on drums (he also bashes the skins for Dark Funeral).

On Royal Straight Flesh Defleshed goes for “battle hymns in eleven acts”. In less fancy terms, what we are presented with is 11 tracks of modern thrash death metal that runs over, through and around you in 32 non-stop minutes. I don’t know where previous albums were produced, but Royal Straight Flesh sees a Berno Studio touch, and those guys know how to apply a thick guitar sound (Amon Amarth’s latest was done there also, if I am not mistaken). Except a slightly hollow snare, this hits home hard, angry, brutal and surprisingly legible at the same time.

When about a year ago I reviewed Dimension Zero Silent Night Fever (haven’t heard a new album yet), I complained slightly about the lack of leads, melodicism and overall catchiness. The songs lacked “it” and didn’t stick for me. While coming from the same school of thought, Defleshed gets “it” and their 32 minutes fly by, and you don’t feel like you have been subjected to the same riff over and over again. In this regard, on Royal Straight Flesh some songs do tend to be more memorable than the others, but overall the album is never boring.

Royal Straight Flesh opens up with Hand over Fist, and the catchiness of this song is undeniable. Just be careful of how many times you press replay, or order a neck brace ahead of time. Festivities rarely slow down, maybe a few kilometers per second on Fire in the Soul and Back for the Attack. The title track has an opening lead reminiscent of The Haunted, and you will be headbanging to that, promise. Drummer Modin lays a solid foundation with his drumming. Sometimes he is so fast, it seems he is chaotic. The vocals are not really growly, more angry than brutal, and may not be enough for a death metal band, but here it works perfectly. Lyrics are also very simple, but, hey, this is not about poetry.

Of course, Defleshed did not reinvent the wheel, and this is no new sound breakthrough album. In some form or shape we have heard this music before. It would fit nicely nestled in between the new thrash direction of The Haunted, Carnal Forge and The Forsaken and old school Swedish metal of At The Gates, Grave and Dismember. Only everything is played at Mach 3. As if following Dismember queue on Hate Campaign Royal Straight Flesh even has the same “let’s jam as many non-stop fast tracks into 30+ minutes” approach.

While not sophisticated enough to make your brain cells spin, Royal Straight Flesh will certainly shake them pretty good. And this shakeup will cause you to apply your feet to imaginary drum pedals and hands to make air guitar moves uncontrollably, trust me.

Killing Songs :
Hand over Fist, Feed on the Fallen, Royal Straight Flesh
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Defleshed that we have reviewed:
Defleshed - Reclaim the Beat reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
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