When the Scandinavian extreme metal scene is discussed, one often hears Norway mentioned in connection with black metal and neighboring Sweden mentioned in connection with death metal. But Norway has had its share of noteworthy death metal bands, and Sweden has had its share of noteworthy black metal bands. Sweden's black metal bands have included, among many others, Marduk, Dark Funeral, and Setherial. Side projects are not uncommon for Nordic black metal and death metal bands, and Blackwinds are a side project for Setherial drummer Lord Mysteriis. Setherial's work is far from symphonic black metal; they favor a go-for-the-jugular approach to black metal, and they aren't the least bit apologetic about it. But Flesh Inferno points to the fact that Blackwinds are somewhat more melodic and forgiving than Setherial -- "somewhat" being the operative word. Blackwinds aren't symphonic black metal either; they don't have the lushness that symphonic black metal is known for (some symphonic black metal bands are so lush and so elaborate that they can honestly claim Pink Floyd as an influence). Nonetheless, keyboards are used extensively on this 2008 release, and Blackwinds are big on atmosphere as well as brutality; a dark, ominous atmosphere characterizes this 56-minute CD from beginning to end. Flesh Inferno isn't a five-star masterpiece; the material, although competent, isn't terribly memorable. But competent is certainly better than incompetent, and there are no doubt some hardcore fans of Lord Mysteriis who will want this album simply because he is a part of it. ~ Alex Henderson
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