WHO: Terminally Your Aborted Ghost, a Massachusetts Brutal Death Metal band formed in 2001 and disbanded in 2008. In those seven years, ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ was the only full length album the band ever put out along with three EPs and a single demo. Given the soul crushing quality of ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ it makes perfect sense the band disbanded so soon. They were simply too insane to survive.
WHEN & WHERE: April 22nd 2005 Macabre Mementos unveiled this horrific masterpiece, recorded at Solstice Sound in Stoughton, MA and mastered at New Alliance East in Boston, MA, unto an unsuspecting Death Metal populace. The genre of Brutal Death Metal has never been the same.
WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT: Death, misery, pain, gore, the absurdity of existence. A peak of absolute musical oblivion, reveled in and unleashed without mercy.
WHY IT’S A CLASSIC: To think of Terminally Your Aborted Ghost in relation to the Brutal Death Metal scene as a whole is (almost) insulting to both the band and their only opus. ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ is an album that stared the established classics of the genre in the eyes and laughed at their so called ‘insanity’. With very few exceptions, (‘Suffocated And Embalmed’ and ‘Illuminations Of Vile Engorgement’ are a couple of ‘for instances’) only a handful of other albums in Death Metal history have been this bleak, this unrelentingly nihilistic. Every maddeningly escalating tremolo riff, every hope devouring slam, every sickening guttural slurp and ear piercing shriek/scream only further establishes the thesis of the album; entropy. Decay. Ruin. Uncompromising, unstoppable darkness, the only truth in the pointless charade of existence. You can’t save yourself because you’ve already succumbed to the madness. Don’t even bother bracing yourself, you’re going to feel every second of it as an eternity…and yet, for as vitriolic and hateful as ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ is, it also features some of the most well written and well performed Brutal Death Metal of all time, which further solidifies what a triumph this album truly is. As frightening as an initial listen to any song on this album is, there’s an undeniable rhyme and reason to everything here. This isn’t just technically brilliant spastic nonsense, every seemingly disparate element across 12 tracks and 28 minutes is supposed to be there. There’s just no other conceivable way any of these songs could have taken form. Between the calculated musical insanity and the legendary thematic bludgeoning, there really is no other way to say this; if you as a metalhead have never ventured into the hell of ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’, you cannot call yourself well versed in Death Metal. It really is that cut and dry.
HOW: I don’t think it will ever truly be possible to understand the exact combination of enmity and rage that allowed Devon Wedge, Adam Spalding, Nick Lang and Matt Rowe to create this blasphemous masterpiece but I can say without a shadow of doubt in my mind that all four of these men, wherever they are now, are still at the very top of the Brutal Death Metal genre in terms of sheer musical skill. Most Brutal Death Metal acts choose to either embrace the faster, grindier style of the genre or the slower, groovier slam side of the genre. Terminally Your Aborted Ghost said ‘Fuck that’ and did both, about as well as they could be done. Imagine, as a musical frame of reference, if Devourment, Cryptopsy and Malignancy gang raped Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus’ corpse. Now imagine that ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ is at least 100 times more insane than the result of that necrophilic band fuck-fest. Can’t do it? I don’t blame you; before I listened to this album, I couldn’t either.
Let’s take the analysis of the band one step at a time, starting with vocalist Devon Wedge. It is no exaggeration to say that Devon is the undisputed master of slurred, slurped guttural vocals. I have never, in all of the time I’ve been listening to Brutal Death Metal, heard these kind of gutturals perfected to the extend that Devon has on this album. Really, there is no other vocalist past or present that can consistently pull off ‘gore-slurps’ as intimidating, forceful and just downright fascinating. That isn’t even the only vocal technique Devon uses on the album though. There are hardcore tinged shouts, black metal shrieks, whispered clean vocals; the works! There’s nothing wrong with vocalists that stick to one or two techniques they excel at but it’s all the more satisfying to hear a vocalist able to effortlessly switch between at least four or five vocal styles, especially in a genre that more often than not sticks to a single guttural/growled style.
On the stringed side of the equation, bassist Adam Spalding and guitarist Matt Rowe do nothing but constantly blow my fucking mind every time I listen to this album. Their performances cannot be matched, replicated or replaced. You want some of the most frantic, chaotic and technical tremolo riffing you’ve ever heard? Look no further. Interested in brain crushing slams? You’ve come to the right place. Want tinges of melody and bass solos to go with your brutality? Doesn’t matter, they’re here anyways. Matt and Adam are never stingy about beating your senses within an inch of their life. Although 28 minutes may seem like an exceptionally short time to do any of the things I’ve claimed this album does better than any other, you have no idea just how much content 28 minutes can hold. Every time I put ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ into my CD player or play it on the go with my iPod, I hear even more than I did the last time. I hear riffs beneath/beyond riffs, bass virtuosity that never ends…much like the elaborate scenes of torture and mayhem that make up the cover of ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’, there’s always something new to notice every time you experience the album again.
Lastly, (but certainly not least) Nick Lang delivers a drum performance that equal parts Flo Mournier and Brad Fincher. Some may say the rather lo-fi drum production on the album is a hindrance but I count it as yet another success to add to this album’s already staggering list of achievements. It gives the drumming an omnipresent quality; even if it isn’t at the center of the album’s sound, it never once disappears or eases up. The blasts, fills and double bass are that final piece in this puzzle of flesh, recorded as they were to ensure that even if someone braves the vocals, guitar and bass, the drums will ensure that person doesn’t escape unharmed.
Really, I’m not sure how much more I can say about this album outside of,
‘Track down a copy and buy it NOW, NOW goddamn it…have you bought it yet? No? THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”
There’s a reason after only the album opener ‘Rotten Entrails, Gagged By Semen’ I was sold on this being one of the greatest Death Metal albums I’ve ever heard and all of the words, descriptions and praise in the world can’t even begin to accurately summarize ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’. Like the most important of classic Death Metal albums, this is less a record and more of an experience, an unadulterated plunge into the depths of hell. There will never be another Brutal Death Metal release like this, so do yourself a favor and don’t stay ignorant. Embrace the madness…it’ll sure as hell embrace you.
…and because I’m such a swell guy, here’s a link to the only full playlist of ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ uploaded by – yours truly. You’re welcome dear readers.