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Randall Flagg - "Randall Flagg" (Promo CD)

Randall Flagg - "Randall Flagg" Promo CD cover image

"Randall Flagg" track listing:

1. Walter
2. Lightning of Gods
3. Evolution

Reviewed by on June 8, 2006

"Randal Flagg offer an effective blend of both melodic alt-metal and “to the point” modern hardcore."

If there was ever a band that could be precisely identified as a metalcore act, Randall Flagg would be it. Taking their name from a recurring villain in the novels of Stephen King, Randal Flagg offer an effective blend of both melodic alt-metal and to-the-point modern hardcore. The musicians wear their influences on their sleeve and they certainly aren’t lacking in chops either. The music itself is intricate but very direct. This is most evident in the performances of bassist Tom Paiscik and drummer Jeff Bloom. Ryan Fleming’s guitar sound and playing style call to mind the hornets nest drone of System of a Down’s Daron Malakian. Front man Adam Browning veers from the booming roar of Hatebreed’s Jamie Jasta to the more frantic screams of the Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciatto, though he tends to linger somewhere in between. Randall Flagg deliver an energetic performance on all three tracks of their album promo, suggesting that a full length album would be just as spirited.

Album opener “Walter” greets the listener with a giddy Matt Freeman style bass line and a gut wrenching scream, the band quickly follow with all guns blazing. Guitars churn menacingly; enveloping punchy kick drums while thrusting the listener into the songs first chorus of many. Eventually acoustic guitars swoop down to lay the raucous song to rest. Agitated guitar riffing and jazzy bass and drum interplay kick off the forceful “Lightning of Gods.” Stop-start rhythms and various instrumental fills keep the song fresh despite heavy repetition. The songs most engrossing moment comes during a brief guitar centric breakdown. “Evolution” closes the disk with the bands most animated performance as a unit, while Browning offers his most furious and convincing vocal delivery. The song's only true shortcoming is that it is over too soon.

Highs: Catchy choruses and a gifted drummer. “Evolution” finds the band leaving the shadow of their influences.

Lows: Some critics may hear similarities between Randall Flagg and “Three Dollar Bill Y’all” era Limp Bizkit. Guitars and vocals on “Lightning of Gods” in particular, seem to channel Wes Borland and Fred Durst.

Bottom line: With a tight rhythm section and charismatic front man, this four piece has potential and certainly more promise than most bands of their genre.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)