When a band releases their first full length album upon the world, there is a definite air of anticipation. When said band have decided to keep the limits of the release to a total of 4 tracks totalling just over 30 minutes, it creates a question, how can a band be so confident with just 4 tracks that they are going to create the all-important first impression from the offering.

‘Secular Flesh’ is the first full length offering from the Finnish Celestial Grave via Iron Bonehead productions and it is now that they have stuck their heads above the parapet since taking the underground world by storm with their well acclaimed ‘Burial Ground Trance’ and the follow up EP ‘Pvtrefactio’.

‘Secular Flesh’ opens with ‘Lamentation’ and introduces a female voice preaching on top of a constant wall of unrelenting noise before the band kicks in. The guitars and drum work is brutal and unapologetic, it is a true barrage of ferocity and brutal pounding. The vocals are spiteful and spat out with ferocity and power. ‘Lamentation’ is a merciless opening and really exhibits the intentions for the rest of the black quartet of tracks

The title track is next and starts off with a slower intro as if setting the scene of this bleak and barren malevolent wasteland. The pace picks as the track progresses and the vocals have become even dirtier than on the opener. The lyrics are vindictive and malicious. The guitars are intertwining and weaving across the track and the drums inject a barrage of brutality into the rabid beast. This is 6 minutes of true hatred and venom which has a core of beauty which is displayed in the most caustic of ways.

‘Gasping From Lips Of Night’ tips the scales at 08:36 and is rawer than has previously been seen. It has a slower pace which seems to create more of a doom edge whilst still encompassing the raw and dirty vocals. The drums and guitars seem to be more sluggish and these still seem to marry up charmingly with the vocals. I personally think that they have lost some of the momentum they built in the duo that preceded this one, by turning it down a notch on the speed front, whilst others may argue that it provides some slight respite from the pummelling, and allow you to reset ready for another mauling.

‘Calamitous Love’ is a beast of a track, and is the marathon of the release, conjuring up 10:36 of pure loathing and animosity. The speed is back and generates an atmosphere of repulsion and abhorrence whilst the vocals are executed with desire and lust. They are inflamed and angry whilst managing to keep a bleak chilly undertone.

This is the standout track of the release, and if they are finishing where they intend to take off on the next release, we are in for one hell of a ride with these Finns.

(8/10 Phil Pountney)