REVIEW: Flesh of the Lotus – Flesh of the Lotus [2021]

Artist: Flesh of the Lotus
Album: Flesh of the Lotus

Usually, by this point in the year, I’m already cranking out some articles for promising releases in the year to come—and indeed, there are no shortage of releases launching early 2022 that are wrangling a stranglehold on my attention. With that said, December is often a sleeper month, where at least one or two records lie in wait, lurking auspiciously in anticipation of righteously mutilating people’s annual album-of-the-year lists. And you might have guessed it—because I’m not writing about any of the albums dropping on January 14th, 2022—Flesh of the Lotus’ self titled full length record is absolutely one of those records. Flesh of the Lotus is a demonstration in righteous, relentless deathcore. Drawing influence from the genre’s more traditional stylings while infusing a hefty dose of contemporary penchant for ruthlessness, Flesh of the Lotus let loose a half-hour or pure sonic horror (in the best way possible). Flesh of the Lotus is a bouncy, bold, brutalizing releases that holds boundless amounts of enjoyment for any deathcore enthusiast—be them a 2005-era old head or someone just getting into all things “chug” related.
Flesh of the Lotus is just gritty enough to feel warm and nostalgic, yet polished enough to maintain a certain ease-of-listening about it and allow it to truly hit the listener. Everything Flesh of the Lotus bring to the table—from the riveting percussion to the groovy and occasionally grisly guitar work—is a top notch example of true-to-the-name deathcore. Songs like “Contrition” and “Human Error” see blistering blast beats driving riff-laden anthems into the listener’s head—where the album’s introduction, as well as “213” are bouncy, breakdown-laden barn-burners that smack the listener silly. Throughout both of these two “styles,” Flesh of the Lotus are home to a thick, dense bass tone that works in marvelous harmony with a monstrous, roaring kick drum. This dynamic harmony lets breakdowns—like the one that defines the record’s introduction, and those peppered throughout “Abductor” and “Boundless”—steamroll the listener as if they were a freight train flattening a stick of butter. Similarly, other songs, like “Dissipation” see a focus on a slightly more metallic song structure, with soaring riffs taking turns trading with bludgeoning breakdowns to bewilder the listener. This variety within songwriting and musicianship not only lends a nostalgic layer to Flesh of the Lotus’ approach to deathcore, but also keeps the listener more engrossed as well, lending variety to the record. It would also be remiss to mention Flesh of the Lotus’ record without taking a moment to address its production—which is flawless. Where contemporary heavy music production feels cold and mechanic more often than not, Flesh of the Lotus is warm, vibrant and visceral—it draws the listener in with a vaguely gritty nature, but keeps them there with a level of vibrancy and resonance to the fretwork and bass that makes the release feel less machine-like and more man-made. Oh—and the bass drops are wicked, too.
The standard of practice when it comes to vocals in heavy music in the year 2021 is exceptionally high—especially in deathcore. That is to say that, generally, if your vocalist isn’t stellar, they’re already at a disadvantage in any head-to-head comparison that might come up between bands. It’s a moot point for Flesh of the Lotus, however, as their vocal element is nothing short of incredible. From the first piercing screams on “Contrition,” the band’s vocals absolutely keep a grip on the listener’s ears. From screeching shrieks and squeals to gut busting low bellows, Flesh of the Lotus is home to a comprehensive display of vocal talent which absolutely lives up to what one would expect from a deathcore project in 2021. Even “213,” which seems to have a stronger splash of beatdown influence than others on the record is home to an immensely varied approach to vocalization, adding yet another layer of diversity and variety to the band’s record.
Flesh of the Lotus are a deathcore band for people who are really, truly, unequivocally into deathcore. With that said, they’re also an outstanding entry point for those who are just dabbling in the genre. “213” and the introduction are bouncy and groovy—just as “Dissipation” is a metallic, scathing and riff-driven cut which thrives in contrast to the more breakdown-centric songs on the record. Flesh of the Lotus is a masterfully written, recorded and produced display of all things “deathcore” done perfectly down to the very detail—making it one of those sneaky December releases that you absolutely have to make time for before you polish off those year-end lists.

For Fans Of: Oceano, King Conquer, Jerome, Bound in Fear
By: Connor Welsh