Written by Kep
Cutterred Flesh – Sharing is Caring
Brutal death metal from Czechia
Releasing December 3 via Transcending Obscurity Records
It’s amazing how many countries have a thriving extreme metal scene these days. Everyone knows about Sweden, the US, Japan, France, Germany, Finland, and the rest of the heavy hitters, but there are very lively metal communities in places like Botswana, Angola, Romania, Turkey, and Iraq. Cutterred Flesh, whose name really is spelled like that, come from the Czech Republic, another country that also has a surprisingly vibrant scene including bands like !T.O.O.H.!, Arakain, Törr, and Lykathea Aflame. Sharing is Caring, their fifth LP, is a strong debut on Transcending Obscurity, and I bet it will bring some deserved attention to the metal of Czechia.
This five-piece is a well-polished brutal death outfit and their brand of ruthless heaviness isn’t quite as slammy as your average. Honestly, there are moments and ideas on this album that are mournful, some that are downright proggy, and some that swiftly change the mood from violent to…thoughtful? If you read my Bonecarver review back in you might remember that my first guideline for what makes a brutal/slam group actually good is whether or not the songs have variety. Cutterred Flesh has variety in spades, from the straighahead blasting and groovy death riffs of opener “Vibrio Vulnificus” to the somber and regretful moments of “Where Only Old Flesh Stinks” to the emotive wandering guitars of “The Mystery of the Black Hen”, and they build all the variety into a sturdy framework of satisfying brutality.
Guitarists Vitali Novak and David Krombholz play some remarkably fat, chugtastic stuff on this record, but the coolest moments across the runtime tend to happen when one or both guitars leave the standard brutal death mold. The first song I listened to (it came up on shuffle) was “Black Aurora”, which opens creepily with a sort of music-box version of Brahms’s famous lullaby before the band launches into a towering passage featuring the guitars in a soaring twin harmony that descends sorrowfully. Who the hell expects that sort of melodic impact from an album with a cover featuring a bunch of angry kids ripping and tearing a massive worm monster to pieces? I certainly didn’t, and that moment stuck with me. So did the moment at 2:19 of “Knife is Not the Enemy”, a whirlwind of fast, techy guitars in unison octaves that reminded me more of Allegaeon than bands like Broken Hope or Disgorge.
Sharing is Caringis clearly an exercise in expanding the horizons of a subgenre, and a lot of it works outstandingly. There are tracks here that are truly distinctive within the scope of brutal death metal—“Black Aurora” and “Where Only Old Flesh Stinks” and “The Mystery of the Black Hen” for my money—and they make for the kind of listening experience you can come back to. There are a few songs that don’t land quite as well, mostly because they’re more standard fare—“Good Boy – Romantic Relationship with Dead Tissue” and “Vibrio Vulnificus”, for example—but they’re not bad music, just less special.
To be sure, top to bottom the individual performances are impressive, with the two guitarists and monster vocalist Jiri Krs putting on a memorable show. Drummer Frantisek Drazdansky’s ability to work with the guitars and make instant tempo and meter shifts that drastically change the scope of the song is the kind of thing that lots of death metal bands wish they had. Zdenek Hnizdil has some notable moments on bass, too; for example, it’s his stout tone and driving rhythms that carry spots like the Allegaeon-esque passage in “Knife is Not the Enemy” to glory. I enjoy the production as well, which isn’t too processed but also isn’t too cluttered and messy.
There’s one particularly unfortunate choice made by Cutterred Flesh that I feel I should discuss. The album’s sixth track is called “Amused by the Tenacity of a Dying Whore”, a title which you’ll notice contains a female sex worker slur. The promo materials didn’t include a lyric sheet so I can’t speak confidently to every single word, but I did some cringing. I understand we’re talking brutal death here, and I’m sure the band wouldn’t care much what I think, but it’s high time we started cooling it with the misogyny, regardless of musical style. It’s 2021, and songs like Cannibal Corpse’s “She Was Asking for It” and “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” and albums like Whitechapel’s The Somatic Defilement have already aged very poorly. It’s quite possible to write songs about horrible things without making it misogynistic, and a track like the one in question just ends up making it feel a bit gross to enjoy the rest.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Cutterred Flesh have produced what is easily one of the more unique brutal death metal releases you’ll hear this year or any other, and Sharing is Caring is a 35-minute romp of riffs and ruthlessness that’s flavored with a surprising amount of melody and pathos. It’s not without some flaws: there are standard fare moments here and there, and one glaring misstep that shouldn’t happen in 2021 (again, I doubt the band or many fans will care, but they should). Overall, though, this is a very strong effort from a band that clearly has most of its shit together.