Dublin, Ireland's Zom formed back in 2011, and has remained the same line-up ever since. The trio of guitarist and vocalist Sodomaniac, bassist and vocalist Chthon, and drummer Sabbac have been pretty active with getting the name and material out there. The same year as the formation heralded their first demo recording, which was met about a year later with the Hells Pleasure MMXII demo. In 2013, the band had their limited edition seven-inch EP Multiversal Holocaust issued through Iron Bonehead Productions, which was met with a decent amount of praise. Now, for 2014, Zom find themselves working with Dark Descent Records to issue their debut full-length album, Flesh Assimilation. But does this eight song slab of nightmarish Black and Death Metal wind up being a glimpse straight into hell, or is it something a lot weaker in comparison?

Flesh Assimilation definitely has a number of things going for it right off the bat. "Tombs of the Void" will strike you as a set-up to a live performance the first time around, though that isn't the case. Instead what you're hearing is a nightmarish bit of ambience that introduces you into your incredibly rocky decent straight into Hell. Not long after, you are met with an aggressive feast of blackened riffs and raw production values over the largely Death Metal foundation. Traces of early Bolt Thrower can be felt at times as well, not to mention some deep, heavily echoed gutturals that fill out the chaotic piece. Those vocals sound a lot more distant during "Illbeings Unspeak", which, unfortunately, is the least hostile song of the recording. Yes it picks up with punishing blastbeats and uneasy, eerie leads about half way through, but the start winds up a little more light-hearted, the polar opposite of the crushing slam and guitar solo that erupt in around the two minute mark, leading to a very gritty Thrash Metal undertone supporting it all, a sensation that is also felt felt towards the end of "Dead Worlds".

The raw production quality helps the performances sound hot and hazy, asserting the hellish environment well over audio scenes of oppressive rage and inhuman acts. There's also a nice amount of static and pops that creep up from time to time. While the version I received was the digital one, all the time spent with Flesh Assimilation genuinely felt as though it was the cassette or vinyl edition. Granted these bits of noise are more obvious towards the end, but you do hear them at the start of "Tombs of the Void", as well as the ever violent "Conquest". This song's speed is matched only by the level of venom being churned out by all members of the group. Some passages move at a Doom Metal's pace, such as around the three minute mark to create a sensation of fiendishly tuned riffs that break your spirit as they, the drums, and barking vocals command you to trudge to your death, only to be assaulted by the enthusiastic hatred of unforeseen forces this large extended ritual has conjured up by this point.

The aforementioned bit of ambience becomes a running theme linking all the tracks together into one giant ritual. Heading into "Hordes of the Cursed Realms" finds more dark, bone jarring effects with a deeper spoken word segment, as if reading an incantation as you descend into the next level of Hades. The song itself, however, is both one of the most impressive on this release musically, and most disappointing vocally. The overall performance hits you with infectious Black Metal grooves and solid drum presence that make everything sound beastly and punishing until the leviathan-esque roar of the guitar solo amplifies the pure bludgeoning power and skill this entity is in possession of. But, while all of this comes off a sinister delight of brutal proportions, the vocals leave a lot to be desired. Unlike the many other songs that have a heavy guttural approach, this one sounds like the microphone is picking up on the grunts of someone being punched repeatedly in the gut at a distance.

It may not sound it at first, but Flesh Assimilation is a surprisingly brutal, chaotic experience from start to finish. The raw production qualities work wonders for the incredibly hostile and nightmarish scenarios that lie ahead of you in this ritualistic descent into the netherworld, bringing some new life to the quickly suffocating under the girth of Behemoth influence Black/Death Metal in the most visceral way possible. The only real downfall are the aforementioned gut-punched vocals that seem to creep up in "Hordes of the Cursed Realms", belaying the impact of the abrasive growls and guitar feedback that sounds like cries of an approaching leviathan in the distance. Other than that, Zom's debut full-length is on par with the likes of Deiphago and even early Hate in many ways. So, if you're looking for a violent album that does everything it possibly can to tear you limb from limb without even appearing to try, Flesh Assimilation is a must hear.

Review originally composed for Apoch's Metal Review.