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Flower of Flesh and Blood (

Upon first spin, Flower of Flesh and Blood sounds like a CliffsNotes version of the Headbanger's Ball in recent years: dizzying blast beats, growled vocals that occasionally approach a black metal snarl, dark harmonies befitting the Deftones, and some fleet-fingered instrumental passages. Recorded in 2003, the album also includes a pair of tunes from Amentia's debut, From Regretless Reflectionless. It still clocks in at just 20 minutes, but like time spent in the dentist's chair, it certainly feels longer. This bunch brings the pain and makes it last.

"I refuse to give in to my desire," frontman Noah Buchannan shrieks at one point, but on this disc, there's rarely an impulse that Amentia doesn't indulge. And that's what makes Flower really blossom: It mines enough different tropes of extreme metal, from hardcore to thrash to grind, that listeners are left off balance. You never know what's coming next -- you just know that it's gonna hurt.

More by Jason Bracelin


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