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Proudflesh - "Proudflesh" (CD)

Proudflesh - "Proudflesh" CD cover image

"Proudflesh" track listing:

1. Proudflesh
2. Across This Chaos
3. French Indochina 1954
4. Carnage Again
5. My Lai My Love
6. The Black Jesuit
7. Everything Burns
8. High In The Clouds
9. And Not Fashion
10. E. O.

Reviewed by on February 14, 2008

"a band that could make it big in the mainstream rock scene"

Proudflesh are a three-piece comprising Sothira, Erik Lannon and Jimmy Crucifix. With bassist/vocalist Sotthira’s songs having been covered by such noteworthy acts as Orbital, A Perfect Circle and Sepultura, I was looking very forward to Proudflesh being some very high-class metal. I was disappointed. With a style somewhere between hard-rock and punk, they sound quite literally like a less technical and more accessible Rage Against The Machine rip-off band. I had to play this record a vast number of times before I grew to enjoy it. That said, once it grows on you, this is in no way an unenjoyable album.

The underlying theme of the album is the futility and devastating inhumanity of war, and in particular it speaks out against the hell of colonialism in Indochina. If they took this message to levels of deep governmental conspiracy, the comparison between Proudflesh and Rage Against The Machine would be complete. Proudflesh, however, go for the simpler "war is bad" take, and don’t really delve into the evils that cause war, making scant reference to the corporations as the guilty party.

Sothira’s vocals were the main cause of my discontent with this album, as he takes a lot of getting used to. He doesn’t sing, doesn’t growl, and his vocals aren’t clean or heavy. He just shouts, something like a mix of Lemmy and Zack De La Rocha, albeit nowhere near as good as either of them. The worst part is that the vocal department of this entire album features absolutely no diversification whatsoever - not in pitch, tone, no screams, whispers, nothing. Just 25 minutes of shouting.

So far, I’ve given a very negative perspective of this record, and that’s not fair. It’s not metal, but neither is it bad. It’s funky, groovy, and once you get used to the vocals, it’s actually quite a lot of fun. The first song, which shares the name of both band and album, is funky enough to get the feet tapping and the head nodding, and this grooviness doesn’t let up at any point throughout the record. Fans of punk and bands like Crucifix, ‘Overkill’-era Motorhead and early Discharge will take to this record easier than I.

Proudflesh are a band that could make it big in the mainstream rock scene if they had a singer with the vocal abilities of a pope’s choirboy. Not requiring your full attention, this is music that would be great for playing in the background while you and a few mates sink a few quiet ones.

Highs: A solid album of consistently fun, funky music. Undeniably groovy.

Lows: The vocal stylings of Sothira, and moreover, the lack of diversification of vocals.

Bottom line: If Rage Against The Machine are too heavy for you, put your Seether disc away and give Proudflesh a listen.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

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)