Casting belligerent revelry in a tempest of hardcore, punk metal, and noise rock within debut EP Hexmachine, UK quartet False Flags quickly suggest they are a raging on the ear that giving attention to can only be rewarding. It is a five track causticity loaded with noise infested hooks and discordance fuelled enterprise that snarls and gnaws on the senses with a combination of familiar and fresh ferocity. Major surprises are scarce, originality in some ways slim, but fair to say band and release stir up a very healthy appetite for their uncompromising persuasion of sound and intent.
Hailing from Leeds, False Flags emerged from the ashes of Red Stars Parade, Whores Whores Whores, and Year of the Man some when around 2011. Drawing on inspirations from bands such as Unsane, Breather Resist, Botch, and Coalesce, False Flags saw its members exploring new avenues for their hardcore bred ideation and adventure; better explained by guitarist Charles Pritchard, “after the break-ups of our previous bands in Leeds and all previously being friends from the DIY scene here, we wanted to form a band that took influence more from the noise rock / discordant hardcore end of the spectrum.” It was an aim soon finding success and a quickly growing following to a live presence which including sharing stages with the likes of Noothgrush, Narrows, and Envy. Long anticipated, Hexmachine is their first studio unleashing, a fierce roar on broader spotlights which more than lives up to the buzz their shows have bred.
The EP erupts with Earl Black, the opener emerging from a distant sonic haze in a brawl of thumping rhythms and caustic sonic violation. It is an assault bound in an infectious tenacity and lure too even though the vocals of Chris Jenkinson are throat raw, every syllable bearing the blood of his vocal chords as around him the guitars twist a mesh of flavours from punk to metal to heavy rock. Pritchard’s fingers keep song and imagination busy with his prowess on string as too the dark bass tempting of Mark Snellgrove, his prowling invention superbly aligned to the scything swings of drummer Mike McGoran. First impression of the track is strong, second great with it further impressing with each subsequent play.
The same applies to the following Last Screen Goddess. It makes a bolder entrance, beats badgering ears from its first breath as riffs and grooves entwine in a web of temptation. More predatory in gait and energy than its predecessor, the track is a cantankerous involvement which again only becomes more compelling over time. It is probably fair to say that it lacks the same imagination as the first song in the bulk of its body but saves that for a passage where everything twists around each other in a riveting and bruising noise infested trespass of the senses. Satisfaction is only left full across its bellow and filled again by the confrontation of Fate (Has a Driver). Like a blaze seeded in Sofy Major like rock ‘n’ roll and the scarring contagion of The Great Sabatini, the track heftily pleases; its grooves and bass rabidity especially incendiary sparking an even greedier appetite by this point.
Pet Wolf sculpts its barbarous infestation of air and ears from a similar canvas to the last song but turns it into a much more volcanic and volatile proposition veined by southern hued, sludge coated grooves. Bass and drum endeavour is as bewitching and punishing as the sonic incursion courtesy of the guitar, it all led by the harsh vocal and lyrical devilment. It is a great bullying which continues in the noise/punk inferno of Namedropper. Once more contagious hooks and flaming grooves join barbarous rhythms and vocal abrasion to create an assault as addictive as it is debilitating.
From one great track to another as Phone My Wallet brings Hexmachine to a rousing and brutal end, the track a bedlam of tasty repetitive grooves and intrusive hooks amidst a raging storm of voice, rhythms, and intensity. It sums up the False Flags sound in one invasive blow and ensures the EP leaves on a lofty plateau.
With a want for a touch more bold originality and diversity to Hexmachine the only slight wish of the EP it is an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable introduction to False Flags. With their pedigree and open talent, it already feels like the emergence of a unique character to their sound is on the cards; another reason to be confidently excited by the band.
Hexmachine is available from November 20th @ http://falseflags.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 20/11/2015
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