Review Summary: "I was just gonna, you know, grade my lunch, eat a few tests and hope for the best."
Who here remembers Disney's 'Flubber'？ The lovable 1997 family fun movie which featured the legendary Robin Williams and Christopher McDonald gave very life to the idea of a sentient pile of goo. Naturally, this fantastical fabrication of movie lore created equal measures of chaos and humour as it bounced off every surface imaginable. Flub's 2019 self-titled piece it would seem runs parallel to Flubber's mischievous green bouncer. It too is all over the fucki
While citing members from Rivers Of Nihil, Vale Of Pnath and Alterbeast respectively Flub's methodology for progressive death metal takes from each of the bands mentioned above and soundly pushes their ideas together in a technical mess. The unexpected mashing of sounds may be passed off as outwards fluidity, shaping a unique spin on a genre that has had as many ups and downs of Marilyn Manson's drug habits, but it's more-or-less a combination of ideas forced into a recording with little thought on basic enjoy-ability. Flub
is hampered by too many ideas jammed into such a small space. Even the casually upbeat and somewhat jovial affair found in the album's opening track presents a few headaches. A flurry of notes bounces from riff to riff before being completely outweighed by the Michael Alvarez vocal show. Yes, the guy knows his gutturals and shrieks (and can even provide testament to a few earthly growls in between) but when the mix tries to show off every instrumental component in this compressed form it's the vocals that centre on the listener. “Last Breath” may have a few neat little progressions, teasing some rather jazzier meets classical moments but the immense musical talent Flub has hasn't leeched into songwriting ability. “Blossom” on the other hand, lacks the room to breathe. An onslaught of sound bridges the gaps between genre tags, giving life to the technicality Flub offers, but it could do with some fleshing out. The frenetic riffing lays heavily over the band's tendency for noodling passages whilst Michael's sinister snarl overbears them all.
As the album progresses, there's the occasional glimmer that these guys are onto something. “Rebirth” is quite an example of modern death metal. The sprawling, fluid movement actually takes the best parts of this niche and allows them space, combining note reconciliation and brutality without Flub
's usual tendency for over-saturation. It's a short lived nicety as the record closes with “Wild Smoke” and a random placement of melody fights against Flub's 'metal' parts. Add to that the unfortunate (if unhelpful) positioning right after the colossal “Blossom” and Flub
returns in full to bouncing ideas off walls in the hopes it will stick. At times it's pretty easy to tune out of what Flub are trying to achieve by jamming all these ideas together. A flurry of a lead, a few well-placed riffs, a touch of piano here and always, always Michael's penchant for taking vocal centre stage. Flub
's brevity is both a blessing, but it's more of a curse. This little super-group should give themselves a yard, so their music can take a mile.