Metal Review – Towers of Flesh: Antithetical Conjurations

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Metal Review – Towers of Flesh: Antithetical Conjurations
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Towers of Flesh: Antithetical Conjurations
Black Metal, Death Metal
Candlelight Records
September 8th, 2014
Release length: 37:52
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The creation known as Towers of Flesh is, by all rites, sort of an underground supergroup from the depths of Birmingham, UK. Among it’s members are Tom Konksman (Hellsworn, Necrotize) on bass and guitar, Anil Carrier (Binah, Purify the Horror) on drums and guitar, as well as Jack Welch (Funeral Throne) on vocals. The trio issued their debut full-length The Perpetual Paradox unto the world through Dissected Records. This caused some extensive touring to push the release, though the band admits those live duties have died down a bit. It’s now 2014, and Towers of Flesh prepare to release their follow-up album Antithetical Conjurations, this time through Candlelight Records, the suiting powerhouse of all things gim and cold. But will this new recording prove this is a band well worth keeping watch of, or does this release fail to possess anything that will grab listeners in the label’s extended reach?

Much like on The Perpetual Paradox, Towers of Flesh continues dabbling with extensive track lengths this time around as well. Nothing comes in under seven minutes outside the first two tracks, and even then you can just consider them one piece separated into two. “Antithetical Conjurations” is an instrumental piece that sets up the dark, almost humid atmosphere of the album well. There’s a decent amount of melody to the slower paced riffs that make the grim impact incredibly addicting, though the cymbals are highlighted as being a bit odd. Certain pieces sound more like glass shattering at a higher pitch, while sometimes it seems like there’s washout even though it isn’t really what you’re hearing. This carries over into “Veiled Conception” with a nice transition that does break the two up, but the common environmental traits and how similar both sound basically join them together. The main verses have a faster approach that sounds more like the culmination of Black and Death Metal today, though the chorus has plenty of hooks that make it hard not to bob your head along to. Even some of the slower bridges step up some traditional Black Metal grooves, not to mention the support before and during the guitar solo towards the end.

Towers of Flesh tries to stick with the controlled minimalistic approach “Veiled Conception” established in the foundation, all the while doing something a little different to it each time. “Concealed Within” is the only cut that pushes a little more speed into the performance overall. It has its share of slower moments, like around two and a half minutes that introduces breakdown chugging with some hooks to keep it from heading directly into that realm prior to a hard hitting batch of blast beats that offer up some of the most enthusiastic material Antithetical Conjurations contains. The vocals compliment the sudden jolt of energy perfectly, complimented by some of the tightest Black Metal riffs that close the album on a grander scale. “Blind-Worm-Cycle” has that subtle epic tone as well from time to time, but the majority is blanketed in a much colder groove and layering of the harsher rasps with deep gutturals that suit one another quite well.

“Beg for Absolution” is the longest track, though a bit padded. The grim atmospheres are fantastic, often weaving a rich, occult-like tone through most of the steady mid-paced material that can seem to chug along at times. The chorus, like usual, does find a little more melody to it than the rest, bringing in a ghastly fog to creep over the ceremonies that the guitar solo just past the three minute mark only makes more unnerving, while the second about six minutes in does little at first. About a minute later, you are greeted once more with that hollow sounding audio sample of what seems to be an exorcism that kicked the song off, finding Towers of Flesh channelling their inner Mortician and letting it play out for the next two minutes straight. If “Be for Absolution” were to actually close the album, it would be a nice send off to the album. Instead, we’re right in the middle of Antithetical Conjurations, and there’s no denying how quickly it pulls you out of the mood the two tracks and prior seven minutes set up.

Antithetical Conjurations is an interesting album to say the least. Towers of Flesh manage to convey a nice array of subtle emotion through the music that often has a minimalistic restraint that never actually feels held down. Each track flows smoothly from start to finish with the only padding being the two minute film chunk at the end of “Beg for Absolution,” leaving you with a solid release that suits just about any occasion. Of course this does sacrifice the enthusiasm, but with how well done Antithetical Conjurations ends up being, it’ll be a loss you will easily be willing to accept. If you missed out on the debut Towers of Flesh back in 2012, now is the perfect time to experience what this trio is all about.

01. Antithetical Conjurations – 1:38
02. Veiled Conception – 5:17
03. Beg for Absolution – 9:01
04. Blind-Worm-Cycle – 7:39
05. Imperfect Translations – 7:04
06. Concealed Within – 7:14
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records via Clawhammer PR.