Fleshtemple Initiation

If you can get past the fact that the cover art for New Jersey-based Fleshtemple's new seven-inch features two hooded figures and Baphomet worshipping a woman's ass (no head or even a torso, just legs, chains and a rump), you'll find yourself listening to a shockingly intelligent, filthy and dangerous five songs. Fleshtemple unite the most disgusting and malevolent aspects of old-school back metal with the simmering, threatening energy of the dirtiest punk rock. The riffs are played as though under an incredible amount of tension — so tight the strings turn into blades that threaten to shear the listener in half. The vocals are dry, rasping and ghoulish, as though issuing from the decaying throat of a wraith. Album opener "Ancient Leaf" begins with a grooving, smoldering intensity that quickly erupts into cacophony, while closing track "Blood Oath" is an acrid, doom-laden dirge. Everything in-between is a fierce, unpredictable fusion of the bitterest, sneering punk pugilism with and freezing hostility of black metal. Surprisingly cogent in construction, while viciously wild in execution, Initiation is a balanced, blazing effort. (Free Cake)