The Pitch: Progressive technical death metal debut with a psychedelic twist from Sacramento's Flub via The Artisan Era. FFO: Inanimate Existence, The Ritual Aura, Alkaloid
What I Like: I would think that smoking copious amounts of weed and doing mushrooms would impede one's ability to engage in intricate, technical musicianship, but the boys in Flub seem to do just fine. And to be clear, I don't know that these guys are actually taking hallucinogens, but the trippy cover art (Nele Diel) and music video certainly make me wonder. Speaking of which, I love the intro and outro portions of "Umbra Mortis" and "Wild Smoke." They've got this hazy, dreamlike quality, and the additional effects and synths elevate an otherwise familiar bit of neoclassical tech death to a shredding LCD trip through Wonderland. It's at these moments where the band truly shines. The marimba on "Blossom"... magnificent. Flub are clearly talented performers that know their way around their instruments, but in a scene dangerously bloated with other bands who are equally capable in this area it pays to be different.
Critiques: And therein also lies my biggest critique of this album. While the musicianship is excellent, I'd like to see Flub lean even more into their quirky psychedelic side. Put the same level of weirdness into your songs that you do with the videos and artwork. It would be worth taking on a dedicated keyboardist as a full member and continuing to find ways to stand out from the copious numbers of other tech/prog death groups.
The Verdict: Flub's self-titled album is another strong entry in 2019's ongoing onslaught of incredible tech death releases, and I'm glad to see them join The Artisan Era roster. That said, I feel like I need more from them in the future. This is an excellent and very consistent debut, but the key words moving forwards will be innovation and differentiation.
Flight's Fav's: Umbra Mortis, Dream, Blossom
- Review by FlightOfIcarus
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