Flaming Wrekage - From Flesh to Dust - (7/10)
Published on June 6, 2017
Genre:Melodic Death / Metalcore
Judging by the album artwork of corpses hanging from trees and the lyrics to the title track of From Flesh to Dust (‘Carve out your eyes in front of me / Staple shut your mouth / Fill your throat with razorblades / Misery heads south’), you might expect a blistering death metal assault from these young Australians. As it turns out, despite a certain amiability with the brutal and gruesome elements of metal, there is more of the groovy and melodic about the eight songs on this album. Flaming Wrekage (you would be forgiven for thinking there had been a typo there) play a modern form of “hotpot metal”, into which is thrown many morsels of different subgenres to form a tasty and largely satisfying meal for any palate.
It’s difficult to pin names on all the styles that Flaming Wrekage meld together on this second full-length as many of them have been through several transformations since first appearing. Metalcore seems like an obvious place to start, especially with the extended beatdowns in several songs and the lurching, groovy riffing style that powers the engine of the catchier numbers here. In that light, As I Lay Dying were a close neighbour around the time of An Ocean Between Us, though the way that “Thrown to the Wolves” leaps off the marks is also akin to Devildriver, since the sense of momentum generated is irresistible, not to mention the percussive creativity that branches outside typical metalcore patterns. There are melodies aplenty too, owing as much to the bonafide Swedish godfathers as the American imitators, though the vocals are about as gnarly as you could imagine from those influences, giving away not a glimmer of light with a particularly throaty, ripping tone. Then, just when you begin to suspect that everything might be just a little too modern, pure extremity rears its head on lengthy instrumental “The Onslaught” and the title track verges on blastbeat territory, not to mention some fiery solos that add a pleasant spice to the whole dish.
Whether that combination of influences sounds appetizing or not, it does ensure that Flaming Wrekage hit just about every base, each song diverging enough from its predecessor to keep the listener expectant until the end. For those seeking instant gratification, “Ensnared” will trap you just as the title suggests, using bouncy melodic hooks to lodge inside your memory, similar to how “Desperation Bleeds” winds along at a lower tempo in a manner befitting Nightrage’s early compositions. The meaty modern riffing is exposed all through the more compact numbers, while a few lulls into clean playing mean that the longer songs allow the listener to take a breath and freshen up in time for the next pummeling. Despite the fact that it would be churlish to dismiss any of the songs as boring or negligent, there is the nagging feeling that not everything tingles the tastebuds in equal measure. The lack of obvious hooks in “Bloodstained” makes it a weaker listen especially given its running time of six minutes, “Misguided Disciples” leaves little impression, and “The Onslaught” – though clearly an attempt at something different – merely proves that Flaming Wrekage don’t have what it takes to make captivating atmospheric music, nor do the riffs quite have the character to excite by themselves.
As for where this leaves Flaming Wrekage and From Flesh to Dust, this is hardly as bad as the band’s name might suggest, yet there is need for more work to be done in order to stand out from the crowd. Although there is no issue with the style, the production, the presentation, or the skills of the musicians (though maybe the vocalist could use more character), there just isn’t the necessary something to separate this from other bands moving in the same circles, be that a killer song, a stand-out band member, or even a gimmick, however tiresome they may seem. This is fairly enjoyable, but just in the same way as someone with a sensitive stomach enjoys hotpot: at first, it tastes good, then you get a bit tired eating it, and finally you take a big dump and it’s gone, flushed away.