Ah, DEEDS OF FLESH. That's a name with many meanings, you can freely choose the one you prefer… The band is one of the originators of Californian Death Metal and indeed has had an impact on Death Metal in general. Their sixth studio album "Reduced To Ashes" is released 10 years after DEEDS OF FLESH was founded, as if to celebrate this occasion.
An apocalyptic intro starts the CD, a prophecy for the end of times from the Book if I'm not totally mistaken. Fits the cover very well by the way. Remember the game "The Curse Of Monkey Island" (yes, the first one)? There was a scene where LeChuck tied Guybrush to a marble statue and dropped him into the sea. Once you got to the bottom you noticed there were tons of tools for cutting the rope, saws, swords and scissors. Well, the problem was that the liege ended just out of reach of these objects, so how could one get out of this situation? Easily, you just picked up the statue and walked to the shore. I mean, it was so simple, so obvious but still you tried all the other options BUT that one. DEEDS OF FLESH have the same idea going on here. Why try to nail the listener with intricate and overly technical music when a lot more simplistic, not to mention brutal, approach does the same? This is in-your-face straight Death determined to reduce you to ashes. It's fast, it's brutal, what else do you need? OK, so the songs are a little one-sided and there isn't a lot of variation to the general theme but it gets the job done quite handily. The playing is more or less great if nothing spectacular. Plenty of good riffs, that get pretty technical now and then, and precise, fast drumming (he just keeps on pounding!). The whole package is nicely sealed with Jacoby's excellent guttural grunts.
Naming independent songs from this mass is damn hard, some songs are better than others but there isn't a drop in quality anywhere. "Empyrean" shows more variation, and there's a larger amount of technical riffs here than on the other tracks. "Banished" is another highlight, though I'm not sure why. It just stands out of the crowd. The ending track doesn't differ from the rest by anything else than being nearly 12 minutes in length, but it's no NILE and their "Unas Slayer Of The Gods". It has a huge amount of variation and changes, not to mention the brilliant horn section, and is one of the best NILE tracks ever. "The Endurance" is just the same mauling all the 11 minutes and 51 seconds of it.
Anyone looking for a piece of fast, unrelenting, brutal Death can't go wrong picking up "Reduced To Ashes". Just don't expect anything else from this one… (Online August 19, 2003)