Tech Death Thursday: Flub
Tech death written and performed by actual wizards!
Flub is one of those bands that I’ve briefly mentioned a bunch of times over the past couple years, but I’ve never gotten around to really diving into their stuff. With their recent signing to The Artisan Era and a new album on the horizon, now seems like the perfect time for a deep dive into their stuff. Though I use the term “deep dive” a little loosely here- the entirety of their current discography can be consumed in around half an hour- these guys do some pretty sweet stuff. Plus, as said previously, I’m like 99% sure they’re wizards:
Listen to that and tell me these guys aren’t hiding arcane secrets.
For the uninitiated, Flub started in 2013 by Eloy Montes (ex-Vale of Pnath), Michael Alvarez (Alterbeast), and Jared Klein (Rivers of Nihil) before any of its constituent members had gained any notoriety with their bigger associated acts. They released their first EP, Purpose, that same year (re-recorded two years later- this version is embedded below), an intriguing package that presents a diverse but cohesive mixture of styles. One might brush it off as straightforward (though competent) neoclassical-tinged tech death after listening to “A False Promise,” but one would be sorely mistaken in doing so. “Wander Without Purpose” follows in a similar fashion, but “Memoria” and “Colors” introduce twinkling fae-like synths, lending the music a mystical feeling that’s generally unheard outside the realm of power metal.
With their followup EP, Advent, the band both gives those synths a much more active role in the music and adds entirely new elements to it. All of this comes out at once with the opening of “Euphoria,” kicking the album off with a xylophone melody in a funky time signature that swings into lush, jazzy chords and an augmented dueling lead. There’s a surprising amount of major-key passages on Advent, and together with the keys, it gives the album a constant feeling of joy and whimsy. “Last Chance” also features an almost comically smooth cumbia outro, and “Unrequited” brings it all around with a tight tech death banger. The mix is much better on this one, too, especially in regards to the low end- everything needed a little extra meat on Purpose, and Advent has plenty. This is where the band went from “tech death with keys sometimes” to something truly special, and suffice to say, this is extremely my shit.
One raging tech death single later and we come to Flub, the band’s self-titled Artisan Era debut. Rather than overhaul their sound once again, they have decided to tighten up what they began developing on Advent. There aren’t a whole lot of totally new elements here (though the impish clean singing on “Umbra Mortis” is fun), but that works to the band’s benefit- all the things that made their earlier releases so much fun are still present and integrated into the songs with much more finesse. Things that would jar you from your concentration on other albums feel entirely natural here, be it a brief tango section or an undercurrent of John Carpenter-styled synths. The actual tech death parts- you know, the bits you read this column for- have gotten a big upgrade, too. New bassist Matthew Mudd gives the foundation some heft and supplies some chunky grooves, and the guitar fully embraces counterpoint and complex harmonies. It’s the full package, strong songwriting and a truly unique sound with good production.
If you’re looking forward to this release as much as I am, you can preorder it via Bandcamp or The Artisan Era’s web store, and you can follow Flub on Facebook for more updates. You’ll also be able to catch them on tour in the US and Canada with Inanimate Existence from May 10th to the 26th. That does it for this week, so until next time,
Is your band tech as heck? Got a juicy piece of news or an upcoming release to watch? Send it my way at email@example.com and I’ll check it out. I might even talk about it.