Melbourne’s own Gothic spectres Flat-Liner have cooked up a new EP, and it’s beautifully haunted by the ghosts of a bygone era of early 90s Industrial. Throughout its five tracks, ‘’ nods frequently to early Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, while at the same time injecting reinvigorating personality that is wholly Flat-Liner’s.
Feel my Hate gives the album a noisy, static-ridden opening that soon leads into moody, atmospheric Industrial Metal. Even in these first moments, the glory days of Nine Inch Nails are conjured, along with the vibe of the soundtrack to 2002’s Queen of the Damned film – the soundtrack being by far the most impressive thing about the film. In this sense, there’s a little touch of Godhead, too. Tiny’s guitars buzz and crunch, supported by pounding bass from Skinny Horrors. Meanwhile, Grey’s vocals weave their way from anguished groans to pure aggression, and back again.
Salt the Wound emphasises the almost vaudeville aspects of Flat-Liner’s work, and will no doubt go down a treat live. The lyrics take mundane phrases such as, “Take note of your nearest exit,” and imbue them with sinister meaning that is enhanced by discordant, sometimes even unsettling guitars.
Inside is perhaps the most outright confronting track in its violently sexual lyrical content, which is crude and forthright in a pointed fashion that once again pays homage to Manson and Trent Reznor. Indeed, no punches are pulled as Grey declares, “I want to slit your throat and f*ck the wound.” Nevertheless, there is a mournful aspect to the high tones of this track, offsetting the pumping riffs and Stixx’s drums that embody the rhythmic violence.
The pace picks up into a jaunty style, with something of a jazz beat in the bass and with noisy, buzzing guitars on the side in Fuck your Feelings. This song is perhaps the strongest declaration of war against social mores, drawing on the grand Industrial tradition of anti-Christian lyrics set against upbeat instrumentation.
The final track is well worth the wait, and very fitting as the title track of the EP. Opening with a slow, ominous drone and beat, it then kicks into Tiny’s heavy guitars and distinctive synth work from Stilts. It’s here that the groove that belongs purely to Flat-Liner is most apparent, bringing back some of the Southern twang from their previous work. Accordingly, Grey’s vocals are far more pronounced and distinct in this track, emphasizing a surprising – but certainly welcome – Blues influence. This is contrasted with a massively heavy chorus, serving to highlight this as one of the most powerful songs Flat-Liner have so far produced.
With this EP Flat-Liner have outdone themselves in terms of harsh darkness and all-out heaviness, casting a delicious shadow that one hopes will reach out to cover even further horizons in the future.
FLAT-LINER’S ‘’ IS RELEASED AUGUST 21ST. FIND IT ON ITUNES, GOOGLE PLAY AND SPOTIFY, AND CHECK OUT FLAT-LINER’S WEBSITE HERE!