Flub - Flub - (9/10)
Published on May 13, 2019
The Artisan Era seems to be a treasure trove of goodies for death metal fans in search of something technical, progressive or just different. With Flub’s upcoming self-titled release, there is no difference. In case the cover artwork didn’t hint you out, this is way more colorful than straightforward death metal. That artwork really is what made me curious about this band and after a few spins of the record I dare say that it actually matches the vibe of the music really well. Somehow these guys made death metal sound groovy, funky and even a little cartoonish.
In terms of musicianship there’s very little room for criticism. They’re no strangers to a little prog nor are they short on technical abilities, whether it’s blast beats, shredding or fast dynamic tech death riffing, but being technical is certainly not their main focus. The music is really aimed to appeal to the listener and despite a fair amount of intricacy and diversity, they have a lot of impact and all the songs are kept on point. What really makes them stand out is their approach towards melody. There are very inspired, catchy and slightly silly lead melodies on guitars and especially on synths/keyboards. The song Umbra Mortis is probably the best example of this. It adds a very unusual vibe that has me wondering if I should take this band seriously from an expressive standpoint. I’m not even sure they take themselves too seriously (see the video below). At the end of the record I just feel it’s intended to be really good fun. And it clearly is. But I assure you that they take themselves very seriously when it comes to delivering high quality.
This album can actually get seriously aggressive and despite the juicy colorful melodies, they put a check on all the death metal requirements. Properly heavy riffing, headbang inducing patterns, crazy technical solo work and incredibly filthy harsh vocals are all quite prominent in their sound. At times it even gets a slightly orchestral feel that sounds a bit eerie and builds a bit of an atmosphere. But it always comes back to that groove and immature charisma and sooner or later, that will force a chuckle out of you. I also have to mention the bass as a very important part of the album’s attitude.
Though the sound is quite processed, it does maintain a bit of a muddy substance in the mix and the filthy vocals definitely add to that. But it alternates with moments of clarity with the use of keys and a little clean guitars that really create some breathe space. With all these unexpected contrasts, Flub is certainly one of the weirdest takes on death metal and one that gives a whole new face to the genre. It’s funny, melodic, catchy, brutal and very original. They even have a riff slicing affinity that reminds of djent a little bit. And when you think about it, if there’s anything that tech-death lacks, it’s a good dose of honest fun.