Brisbane’s Flynn Effect return with their second album, Obsidian. A more diverse offering than their debut release Skin, Obsidian explores some heavier territory, but also remains true to the band’s roots. The growth in musicianship and song writing is clear, though it feels as if the band hasn’t been fully unleashed yet. Something is still restrained in Obsidian; perhaps something that will be cracked open through the live energy of their upcoming tour.
The album kicks in with its strongest track, “All for Love”. This high energy track is perfect for a club set, and will accordingly no doubt become a DJ Crowley mainstay. “All for Love” captures everything that is the recognisable Industrial-influenced Gothic Metal style of the band, particularly Tomina Vincent’s vocals, but stepped up a notch.
Next up is the album’s first single, “Fade”. “Fade” is a diverse track that is at times sweeping and epic, at others more direct and heavy, harking back to the strong influence of Rammstein on Skin. The band explore some of the dark and creepier aspects of the Gothic Metal milieu, somewhat in the style of Lacuna Coil, particularly through the minor key of some of the vocals. The symphonic elements kick in powerfully towards the end of the track, though there may have been benefit to drawing them in sooner to flesh things out.
“Eastwood Blues” approaches some new territory in the style of Southern Gothic, and to a point could have been inspired by True Blood – certainly in the lyrics, “Oh my devils and angels beware, my baby is a killer.” There’s a strong groove here, but as with several tracks on the album, overall it could have been pushed further. I personally love a bit of Southern Gothic in my Metal, and for my money, there isn’t enough of it out there. Hopefully this is a vibe that Flynn Effect will revisit.
“Gone” is the first of several slower, more mournful tracks. Some of the album’s deeper lyrics lurk in this track, including the lovely, “I’m staring at the sky, from the bottom of the ocean that is you; and I don’t exist in your eyes.”
The album’s heaviness kicks back in with “Tremors”, rousing and dramatic in the style of Evanescence’s best work, but with more interesting vocal melodies and a more diverse song structure than Evanescence had a tendency to achieve. The electronic and symphonic elements come together quite nicely in this song, though as the longest on the album at almost six minutes, it does have a tendency to drag towards the end.
The downbeat but very danceable cover of Coldplay’s “Talk” could well make another great single release. The Industrial, even EBM influence is strong here, with a touch of VNV Nation to the intro and verses. Though the overall structure of the song is similar to “Tremors”, the pacing is stronger here.
“The Darkest Hour” takes the Gothic Metal elements of the album to an interesting and, well, darker place. A powerful track that nonetheless could have been pushed even harder, though it does include what is probably the most powerful guitar solo on the album.
Overall the last third of the album is quieter and more understated, with the exception of “Give In To Me”, which has something almost Queensryche-esque in its groove. I could definitely hear Todd La Torre singing those vocal melodies, particularly in the line, “No matter how far you run, you’ll always bring yourself along.”
The slow, dramatic and heartfelt “Never Let Me Go” carries the listener gently out of the album, and is a beautiful note to end on.
Obsidian is an album that shows superb growth for Flynn Effect, and will no doubt more deeply establish them as a powerful presence in both the Brisbane, and wider Australian Metal scene. I, for one, am greatly anticipating their return to Melbourne’s Workers’ Club in August. The album feels like a harbinger of even greater things to come. Jump in now, because Flynn Effect are a band to watch.