Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fliptop Box - Catch 22 (2016)

Recommended for fans of Alice In Chains, Danzig, Volbeat and Therapy? (Seriously? I'll provide some better influences later in the review) these Grecian metallers are about to release their sophomore disc sometime in late October. In all honesty, I would compare the sound of Fliptop Box to being a combination of Deftones as their lightest and The Cult at their most melodic. There are also some growls here and there, but they feel kind of forced. This band doesn't need growls, (but they appear on a track called “Sirens”) as there's no sense in it and it more or less weakens the performance. These guys don't have to growl to reach a metal audience, they seem to do a fine job playing their instruments as is. Maybe there's even a little bit of Sentenced's melancholy rock here, which isn't a problem either.

Frontman John P. handles the vocals here, sometimes going into a bit of a Danzig croon, but it's a bit lighter and somewhat a bit post-punk depending on the cut. Perhaps the accent is still a little bit rough, but the spirit is there. He also handles the guitars, where he composes a sort of airy, yet thunderous rock. Again, I'm thinking of the Deftones at their lightest, maybe Saturday Night Wrist or Koi No Yokan. There are also some rather notable solos on the record, but I can't tell if John or (secondary axe) Stavros is responsible for them. Additionally we'll also hear backups on the record, where drummer Captain Frikis and Christina accentuate the choruses. This is most notable on opener “Blast” even though John handles his own on “Borderline” quite well too. While the Volbeat influence may very well be there, I can say that John's vocal approach is far more spirited and much less obnoxious than that of Michael “liked you better in Dominus” Poulsen. He really knows how to bring it home and pile on the melody at the same time, which equals out to several memorable songs.

The record is extremely well written and feels like it has a bit more going for it than just some mainstream modern rock sound. There's definitely a slight feel of Goth here, but it's closer to early Goth rather than Dracula Goth. I take no preference with either, but hearing a little bit of The Sisters Of Mercy is not something I'm going to take an issue with. All in all, the Greeks have made a rather strong record and I'd certainly recommend giving it a listen. I'm a little torn between a decent seven and a solid eight, because some parts of the disc are rough while others are quite well produced. I will say that after the third time of listening to the disc, I still find it a very strong disc where anything could really be touched on and often is. The listener won't expect some of the territory that is traversed here, but it will all be worth an ear if you're willing to give these guys a shot.

Fliptop Box are a bit more inventive than what we might expect for alternative rock, and there are enough metallic elements here to interest those who might be on the fence. Even so, this is a rock band and they should be respected as such. I never claimed that Fliptop Box were one of the heaviest bands in the world, but they don't need to be either. They're doing their own thing and I think that given time, these guys will really start to grow on me. Quite refreshing.

(8 Tracks, 38:00)


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