The Way of All Flesh
Black Box Records
ASRA snugs up next to Assück on my MP3 player, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Black Box’s latest grind signing. Not to be confused with the American Recreational Skiing Association or the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse channel Florida’s finest grinders circa Misery Index, adding in dollops of Discordance Axis, Insect Warfare and maybe just a smidgen of the severely underrated Asterisk*. Not that ASRA can’t mix it up a bit. Putting an exclamation point on this short albums are closers “Loathsome” and “Enclosed Enemy” descant the insalubrious spirits of Earache era Entombed’s thunder and Bolt Thrower’s chug.
The production is punchy and the vocals descend from tonsil grinder Jon Chang screams to the stygian death growl depths that would have done any of the 90’s "–tion" bands proud. Though ASRA ably ape and update classic second run grind, but it’s that death metal core, which peeks through in the longer, sludgier songs that differentiates the band from a bazillion other blast beat freaks weaned on Napalm Death, Repulsion and Phobia.
From Jethaniel Peterka’s beautifully rendered and somewhat blasphemous artwork to the punchy, crunchy mix by Chip Karpells (mixed by the ubiquitous Scott Hull), The Way of All Flesh tidily sews together several by now familiar elements into a fresh and consistently listenable package. Speaking of packaging, as with Tombs, Black Box is selling a deluxe edition that includes The Way of All Flesh on both CD and nice thick clear vinyl (which reminds me of all those Isis remix albums I never listen to).
For a debut album, the way of all this flesh pleases me greatly.