Flaw has always been a bit of an anomaly in the metal scene. Emerging at the tail end of the nu-metal era with bands like Ultraspank, Skrape, and Nothingface who all added even more groove to separate them from the herd, Flaw shined with chugging riffs and a vocalist whose lyrical flow was on par with Jonathan Davis or Corey Taylor, but with an even more intense delivery. Where they differed, though, was that Flaw’s music was always a dichotomy: an uplifting dirge (I dare you to listen to “Only The Strong” and argue that point). And it worked. Then, like the vast majority of bands from that era, they dissolved.
And in all honesty, Flaw never had that “perfect” album. Sure, Endangered Species and Through The Eyes each slayed in their own right but also felt like they were missing that certain something to make them truly great.
Divided We Fall is the album where they found that something and then some.
If the slam-you-over-the-head-with-riffs-and-rage opener “Fed Up” (Which deals with combat veterans and the high suicide rate amongst them) doesn’t immediately convince you how relevant and potent Flaw still is in 2016 then the rolling crunch of “Do You Remember” surely will with Chris Volz’s melodies captivating listeners even moreso than they did over a decade ago. Couple that tidbit with Jason Daunt’s guitars and Corey Sturgill’s drums crushing your skulls and your (re)indoctrination into the Flaw family is nearly complete. That is, if you’re emotions (and eardrums) can handle the ten tracks that follow.
The album features some of the heaviest material Flaw has ever recorded and some of the most catchy stuff as well. Sometimes in the same song. Looking at you, “Live And Breathe”. Then there are others that are just downright brutal. Looking at you, “Choices”!
Elsewhere on Divided We Fall, Flaw delve deep into what works and made them so great in the first place and amplify it to new levels. “Bleed Red” is like the best parts of every great song Flaw released in the early ’00’s (Think “Endangered Species” mixed with “Payback”) while “Let Me Go” adds a little electro to propel the song to new heights as Ryan Jurhs’ subtle bass fills build to an even greater presence during the breakdown.
Revisiting Through The Eyes with an updated and piano-laden version of “The Letter” to end their latest, Flaw leave you wanting more. In a good way. You feel complete. You feel satiated. But at the end of the day, you’re hungry for what’s to come. Divided We Fall was easily an album I was looking forward to this year but not one I would’ve considered a contender for our year end list. My bad. If you check this space in December and this record isn’t somewhere on the “Top 16 of ’16” list then I’ll be just as surprised as you.