Label: The Artisan Era
Genre: Progressive Technical Death Metal
Country: United States
Release Date: June 7th, 2019
The Artisan Era is pulling all the stops with all the bands on their roster releasing their debut records this year; see Warforged for example. Flub is one of those bands. Flub is dropping their self-titled debut record and to say the least, this is not exactly what you would expect to hear from a tech death metal outfit. The instrumentation sounds like a faster and more technical Colors-era Between the Buried and Me but only in the slightest. The vocals are what really make this the death metal entity that it is, although it does sound quite joyous and upbeat most of the time (perhaps this was written in a major key, who knows). Behold what is most likely one of the most upbeat and wildcard tech death metal albums you’ll hear this year!
Flub is what one could call a supergroup. Flub is composed of Michael Alvarez (Alterbeast), Eloy Montes (ex-Vale of Pnath), Matthew Mud (ex-The User Lives), and Jared Kline (Rivers of Nihil). Right from the beginning of the record you are made very clear with how wacky and unexpected this album will be. All over this record you’ll find just beyond intoxicating instrumental melodies and rhythms that’ll make you question what you’re actually listening to, in a good way of course. There are so many special moments and musical styles that include classical, jazz fusion, and Spanish/Latin influences found throughout the masterful instrumentation and musicianship on this record. Some of the most memorable parts of the record include the track Last Breath, which has that super soulful and sassy intro riff to open up the record, the catchy and upbeat outro chord progression in Dream, the perfectly smooth transition from peaceful and relaxing piano passages guiding you to the ensuing mayhem that is heard on Rebirth, and the unforgettable xylophone/marimba solos heard throughout the album, like on Wild Smoke for example. Although this is a short record, not a single moment is wasted as every single measure is packed with so many musical ideas all going on at once. It all somehow works unlike you would expect it to. With that all being said, I am deeply interested in hearing an instrumental version of this record, as with as many times I have listened to this already, I still find something new each time.
As most progressive and technical death metal bands (and professional musicians) know nowadays, you need to have a good and well-balanced mix; it is obvious that Flub certainly know that. The mix on this record is pristine leaving little to be desired. I can hear every instrument with nothing but pure clarity, resulting in an extremely enjoyable listening experience. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to identify and listen to the crispness of each instrument with little effort, especially with all the different styles and genre-bending that is going on. The guitar, nor the drums, drown out the bass, which is always a plus, especially when the bassist is providing such excellent rhythm and melodies. I cannot deny that these tracks are all infectiously catchy, undeniably groovy, and absolutely wicked in general. The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way in the slightest was the vocals. This record certainly could’ve sounded a little more well balanced if there was more singing on this record. There is some clean singing in the track Rebirth, but that is really all that I noticed. The vocal prowess that Michael possess is undeniable, but it seems that a balance of harsh and sung vocals could’ve done the record a little more justice with all the different styles and genres that you hear in the instrumentation. Don’t get me wrong, the vocals are powerful and monstrous as can be, but some clean vocals here and there never hurt anyone.
Flub are sure to put a fat grin on your face with how awesome and genuine their debut record is. In a highly over-saturated sub-genre, Flub’s self-titled debut is a fresh of breath air and is as mysterious as the incredibly beautiful and detailed album art is. It is unfortunately extremely short for an LP, but the quality of the music more than makes up for the short runtime. Each song is filled to the brim with countless musical ideas making the record incredibly dense overall and utterly unpredictable, but the tracks all remain easy to digest with the equally complex and straightforward, ‘exotic’ melodies and rhythms. If you really want to confuse your metal-hating friends/coworkers/family, play them some Flub as they will not know whether to absolutely love it or hate the music even more. Either way, you can prove them wrong that metal music is not just noise.
- Last Breath
- Umbra Mortis
- Rise From Your Grave
- Wild Smoke
Total Playing Time: 27:32