From the Vaült – Flaw’s “Through The Eyes”
Remember Flaw? No? Well I do!
I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, though. Flaw, from Louisville, KY, got their break during the “sign every hard rock and nu-metal band” label flurry of 1999-2001 thanks to Universal/Republic Records. It probably helped that the band managed to check off several nu-metal looks in their promo photo alone: Bleached hair? Check. Bad tattoos? Check. Dreads? Check. Spiky hair? Check. Visor? Check. Piercings? Check. Painted finger nails. You better believe that’s a check. The stupid hair would only get worse as seen in the videos below.
In 2001, the band released their major label debut “Through The Eyes”complete with album art that Korn would stylistically rip-off a year later with “Untouchables”. An endless loop of their videos for “Payback” (Spoiler alert: It was all a dream…or was it?!?) and “Whole” (Spoiler alert: It was all ummm…a video about drugs and abuse and death and stuff) on MTV2 and Fuse’s “Uranium” (remember that?) helped introduce the band to an audience ready to get aggro all over the suburbs. I have a bit of a soft spot for “Payback” as my very first band used to cover it. We were so young back then. Sigh.
The music of “Through The Eyes” is straight-forward hard rock that some might describe as mediocre. Mediocre isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You know exactly what you’re going to get. Kind of like when you order a Whopper at Burger King. There’s plenty of distortion with some wahs and chugs. I mean about the music, not about the Whopper. You gotta get dem chugs! Gotta mosh! Gotta get sweaty and take your No Fear shirt off! Gotta hug other sweaty dudes who also aren’t wearing their shirts! Gotta slam Bud Lights! Fuuuuccccck!
What makes the album stand out is the strength of vocalist Chris Volz’s voice. I’m not talking about the screams and yells. Volz can actually sing and is able to show off his vocal ability in songs like “My Letter” and “What I Have To Do”. Here is a sample of lyrics from “My Letter”:
Hope you’re alright, it’s been rough for me
Thinking all night about the places I’d be
If I maybe just did a little bit more you might’ve let me become a man for sure
And if I might, express one concern it seems an issue, all day at every turn
What’s the next step, the latest hole in my life
What’s next for me to learn
It’s actually a very touching song about Volz’s mother’s suicide. It has truly heartfelt lyrics, rarely seen from bands of this era. It actually makes me a little misty-eyed to be honest. Something that like does make you question some of their other songs, though. It’s a big step up from the lyrics of Payback which includes the line, and I’m not making this up, “Guess what? You suck!” Awesome if you’re an angry 14 year old. Not so much for everyone else. Take that 4th period Biology teacher!
The band had a “blink and they’re gone” major-label career through little fault of their own. Like most of the bands signed during this era, they were given an nearly-impossible threshold of records to sell in order to be considered a success.
“You didn’t sell over 100,000 records? Get the fuck outta my office! And where the fuck is my fucking latte, you fuck?!” – Universal Records executive (probably).
Despite reaching the tops of the Billboard “Heatseekers” chart and an appearance on Ozzfest, Flaw released one more album on the label, Endangered Animals, before being dropped and subsequently breaking up.
Volz created Five.Bolt.Main, which was pretty much just Flaw 2.0. That didn’t last for long and then Flaw was reformed. And then they broke up. And then they reformed. Seriously, check out the drama-llama action on their Wikipedia page. Seriously, ska bands have less current and former members.
Recently, the band created a fundraising page on Indiegogo to help fund the recording of a new album. It fell way short of the their $30,000 goal. Chalk that up to little press and a misreading of how much fans are willing to pay. $40 for a signed demo cd? $100 to have your name in the cd booklet? Come on, guys.
I truly believe that if this album came out now, Flaw would find a good place amongst the Five Finger Death Punch crowd. Plenty of simple, heavy mosh parts couple with simple heavy vocal parts with catchy choruses. Perhaps Flaw was just a victim of the times. A small fish in a giant pond full of other fish that looked and sounded just like them. I hesitate to say that “Through The Eyes” is a hidden gem because it does have it’s flaws, pun completely intended, but it does have some very good moments that are worth seeking out. Just keep your shirt on, you gross, sweaty bastards.
You can listen to Flaw’s “Through The Eyes” in it’s entirety here.