Flatlined, 'Parallel Reflections' - Song Review
Who The Hell Are Flatlined?
You're probably asking yourself who this band is, and why I've decided to review them. Flatlined was a melodic metalcore supergroup out of Massachusetts. I stress "was" because they came and went after one EP, one album and a bunch of pictures of a tour that supposedly happened in the early 2000s. I don't know. The bassist from Unearth was in it and so was the guitarist for All That Remains. Allegedly. All we can tell is that some experienced musicians got together and made two metalcore albums. Probably...
The reason why I am reviewing this track is because it features none other than our favorite Marine reject, Phil Labonte, doing backing vocals. Or singing the whole song. I really can't tell, because the vocalist sounds almost exactly like Labonte just with a slightly lower register. I read the album credits at least three times before I realized that Labonte was just a guest vocalist and not a member of the band.
What Does It Sound Like?
This track opens with a killer riff, with the bassist following along. The drummer keeps up with the strings, providing some nice contrast on the low end with the snares.The vocals are not that comprehensible, as this is a melodeath song. The opening is pretty slow with Labonte and not-Labonte taking turns screaming the verses. Then the chorus kicks up and the two indistinguishable singers scream over a pretty decent guitar melody.
The chorus goes on for a minute and a half. It dawns on me that this part may not be a chorus but just the way the song is structured, but again, this shit confuses me. Throughout the song, I was way too busy trying to figure which screamer was Labonte, and wondering why we can't get something that sounds more like this instead of Garth Brooks covers on All That Remains albums, nowadays.
After the never-ending chorus stops we get one of those hammy Shadows Fall-esque breakdowns. The vocalists trade verses, and the guitarist slows the main riff down like a winding clock. The part reminds me of a bag of Cheetos slowly deflating.
I'm in no way shitting on this section, but if you asked me to imagine a band taking steroids and then going into the studio, this breakdown would be the comedown I'd picture.
And somebody forgot to tell the drummer to slow down because he starts pounding fast hell before everyone else starts back up.
The whole thing has a bit of a djent feel, with all of the chugging and incoherence. So if some hipster starts claiming there was a such thing as pre-djent bands on a forum you can help them out by saying that this band was one of them and no one will really be able to argue.
After the breakdown, the song picks up again with the not chorus, and then it slows down with both vocalists screaming something as the instruments slow down and everything fades out. I say something because this is the most incoherent song I've ever heard.
I'm not shitting on them, I just feel genuinely confused as to why two American vocalists sound more like toilets screaming in Polish than people. They're clearly speaking English but very incoherently on this track. Which wouldn't be a problem if Phil Labonte didn't already have a Shadows Fall album under his belt where I can understand him perfectly fine and would be even less of a problem if the vocalist didn't sound coherent on damn near every other song on the album.
I guess it was the adrenaline...
The riffing is downright amazing, and I love the way the two vocalists swap the verses and then share the choruses. I can hear the bass the whole time which is something so rare I have to award points for it. The tracks speeds up and slows down and then speeds up again only to fade in a manner that will keep you tapping your foot and banging your head the whole time.
My only complaints are that I can't understand the lyrics and that the two vocalists sound almost identical. A little bit more vocal variety would have sent this track soaring into my top ten list. I give this track three and a half out of five guitar picks.
© 2018 Joey Smith