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Flames - Resurgence

by Matt Bozenda at 01 September 2022, 4:17 PM

When a band goes on hiatus, the reasons can widely vary, and the results similarly follow. Spain’s GOLGOTHA took fourteen years between albums and got a lukewarm response. The eponymous debut of Lithuania’s POCCOLUS was recently re-issued, but there’s no indication the band intends to record again soon. And then there’s all the one-man side projects that they’ve all been meaning to get back to for years.

Now consider the tale of the Athens-born now Germany-based FLAMES. It’s been a whole twenty-six years since “In Agony Rise” was released into a community which had largely moved on from Thrash. The strains similar to the likes of EXUMER or SODOM, from the good but less-heralded end of the genre, just didn’t grab attention. But now, after two and a half decades and a lineup shuffle, the band has dropped album seven, “Resurgence”. The apt title encapsulates the nostalgic appeal of the old style of Thrash, which has also seen times of revival since the glory days.

After an unassuming intro, the title track offers the first salvo, exuding intensity but coming up just short of Death metal or anything like that, and through the following track, “Crawl Beyond”, their lane is firmly established. This is also when the vocals more noticeably fit the music being played, but you may want to avoid the lyrics sheet if you miss the poetic side of metal.

“Rotten Life” is rotten with riffs and holds the course, which can be said for pretty much every track up through “The Crib”. Many tracks therein, such as “War In Mind”, feature a false ending, this particular one being a rather shunting pause. “Murder Pause” changes that up a bit by having a slow intro.

The album’s gems are the back-to-back combo of “Mercy Denied” and “Shell Shocked”. The former blows away all other tracks before it by being head-and-shoulders above them all. The latter track is even better, and has a bit more radio worthiness to it.

Not long after that is when the album starts to overstay its welcome. The best thrash is in and out quickly and gets a lot done. At over three-quarters of an hour, “Resurgence” is an unwieldy beast, and to have so little to show for it, really. Nothing about what FLAMES is doing is groundbreaking or different; this music sounds so fossilized you’d think it was crude oil.

Thrash fans, however, ought to love “Resurgence”, especially anyone just starting to explore the genre. This is a decent entry-level stepping stone, even for a band that’s been around as long as FLAMES. It is not a technical masterpiece, it’s not even entirely original, but one could do a lot worse at the gym or while cutting a lawn than this album.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 5
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Keeper Of The Burning Flame
2. Resurgence
3. Crawl Beyond
4. Rotten Life
5. Murder Taste
6. War In Mind
7. The Crib
8. Mercy Denied
9. Shell Shocked (Western Front)
10. Yourself Unknown
11. H8red
12. Legend III (The Final War) (CD Bonus Track)
Andy Kirk - bass
Chris Kirk - guitars
Tom Trampouras - vocals
Nick Samios - drums
Record Label: No Remorse Records


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