Encouraged by the growing buzz around Estonian metallers Horror Dance Squad heading over to their new album was an easy decision and one rewarded with the finding of one of the year’s rousing highlights. No Flag Will Fly Forever is a bold and striking incitement of sound and creative drama which has had us greedily devouring its compelling body from the very first seconds of our initial exploration.
Horror Dance Squad breed their sound in the combined seeds of metalcore and punk rock but as their latest offering eagerly reveals it is a far more complex and diverse proposition then that suggests. The myriad of metal borne styles and flavours in its makeup alone ensures an intriguing proposition and add the variety of rock it equally embraces there was nothing but pleasure found in its unpredictability. Lyrically it is as rousing and imposing as its music, the band taking inspiration from and giving defiance to the injustices and corruptions of the world as well as drawing on more intimate and personal sparks. It all makes for a record bred with passion and nurtured through imagination, a bold and ambitious encounter which had us subserviently dangling on the strings of its creative puppetry.
No Flag Will Fly Forever swiftly engaged the imagination with opener Party All Life Till Our Souls Go Home, its atmospheric climate quickly brewing and uncaging a raucous body of enterprise for ears to devour. Quickly you can sense the inspirations of bands such as Enter Shikari and Bring Me the Horizon in the band’s sound but just as rapidly find the uniqueness in their music and the individuality of its character as the song travels at urgent creative speed through ears. The combined vocals of frontmen Karl Mesipuu and Ian Karell make a potent mix, their ever evolving deliveries as magnetic and creative as the sounds cast around them an d fair to say electronic and sonic endeavour continued to beguile and captivate as the album got off to a flyer though one rapidly built upon.
Burn This Place Down has an ingrained hostility and antagonism which immediately stains its riffs and rhythmic insistence yet cannot diminish the infectious almost poppy enterprise which had already shaped its predecessor. There is a touch of The Browning to its confrontation and power which is echoed in the resourceful vocal mix within tempestuous walls shaped by guitarists Indrek Ulp and Mikk Peetrimägi, the track a striking moment followed by another in the fascinating shape of Callous Cage. A skilled mix of melancholic calm and emotive uproar within another cauldron of infection loaded sound, there was no escaping its manipulative grip.
Featuring Iisak Pilli, Cancer quickly demanded keen attention; its barbarous rhythmic assault driven by the crushing blows of drummer Henri Kuusk and alone igniting the imagination soon further inflamed by the theatre of creativity and arena of adventure bred before the album’s title track surges forth for the same results. Its initial coaxing is just the flirtation before the rich roar of the song’s heart and voice, it too as all tracks, never skimping on unpredictable enterprise and ever twisting ideation but delivered in a fluid transition of adventure. The synths of Margus Tammela again weave a warm yet in their own way provocatively invasive atmosphere for the band to design their tempestuous endeavours under.
Into the Wild is a savage beast of imagination, its presence imposing and inescapably magnetic as light and dark textures collude and collide in its mercurial landscape. At times the track is feral verging on the demonic yet seductive throughout, a seriously gripping affair before leading the imagination into the aftermath of its eruption, the dark electronic waltz of Wild.
Through the voracious jaws of Dinosaur Tongue and across its primal terrain, band and album gripped all the tighter on already greedy ears, the following Happy Face with it’s off kilter carnival and pop infectious lures escalating that appetite for the band’s intrepid moves which Out of Breath in turn reaffirmed with creative trespass and fertile tempestuousness. The last of the trio did not quite excite as its companions but the vein of invention and boldness which lay at the heart of it as the whole of No Flag Will Fly Forever only fascinated.
Something Went Wrong quickly had us drooling again, its apocalyptically portentous presence and breath bound to an industrial and rhythmically charged invasion. Yet, like Frankenstein’s monster there lies a light of humanity at its centre which struggles and succumbs to the crush of an oppressive world. The track seizes favourite song honours in quick time never relinquishing even under the creative pressure of the mesmeric Therapy, and its opening arms of self-awareness.
Final track Better is also a warm and pop catchy nurtured offering, its acoustic and harmonic radiance the kindling to a fiery pyre of passion and sound, the song also rivalling for top honours though that could be said of most tracks within one of the year’s most enthralling and enjoyable proposals.
Before No Flag Will Fly Forever, Horror Dance Squad had not been even a smudge on our personal radar but now they are a big compelling mark and surely set to breach the biggest spotlights available with their magnificent release.
No Flag Will Fly Forever is out now on Spotify, Amazon and other platforms.
Pete RingMaster 22/10/2020