TITLE: VOL IV: BECAUSE THE BRAVE
LABEL: PAVEMENT ENTERTAINMENT
WORDS: JAMES HOLDER
Over the course of their two-decade run as a band FLAW have seen and done it all. And then they saw it all and did it all again just to hammer the point home. There’s been highs, lows, controversy and a revolving door of musicians who have performed under the FLAW banner. It would take three days, no sleep and enough stimulants to power 1980’s era Ozzy Osbourne to write out the full list, it’s spectacular.
‘VOL IV: Because The Brave’ is billed as the band being back to their hard hitting best, and a return to their best work but it’s an album that falls miles short of that benchmark. The record is a disjointed affair from start to finish, while the seriously uneven feel rears its ugly head in almost every song. The band’s sound is incredibly narrow, and this results in many of the songs just blurring together. This isn’t aided by song writing which is generic at best. You can’t fault the intention for the most part, but the execution of those intentions is lacklustre and uninspiring.
Straight from the off the problems with the album are laid bare for all to see. ‘Persistence’ and ‘Walk The Line’ just feel inconsistent. Each track feels like two different songs blended together. The latter which starts off perfectly fine, has its momentum brought to a shuddering halt by what is essentially a spoken word interlude. And the theme continues into the title track where a scream vocal is dropped into the final third where it doesn’t really fit.
The middle portion of the album while being non offensive also doesn’t feature anything that stands out either. Lead single ‘Conquer This Climb,’ ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Sign Of The Times’ all come and go with little fuss or excitement. The Musical equivalent of mowing the lawn. However, credit must be given as things pick up considerably with the arrival of ballad ‘Everything,’ ‘Prayer For The Lost’ and ‘On Your Feet.’ The electronic elements in the last of the trio don’t sit quite right, but these are the strongest tracks on the album by a distance.
That being said all hope for a strong finish is snatched away with closing track ‘Lest We Forget.’ While the overriding message of protecting the American constitution and social freedoms is admirable, it’s delivery as a spoken word piece over the top of a series of chopping riffs leaves much to be desired. It must also be said that the flag waving nationalism and endorsing of the Second Amendment (The right to bare arms) doesn’t have nearly the same amount of mileage outside of the States.
‘VOL IV: Because The Brave’ is the sound of a disjointed band making disjointed music. Many of the songs lack any kind of flow individually and put together in the context of an entire album things don’t improve. There is the odd redeeming feature, but those three songs aren’t enough to save an entire album. Rather than a return to form, ‘Because The Brave’ finds a band fighting to return to former glories, a fight that FLAW are currently losing.