Flesh Field – Strain ( 2004 )



Industrial/ EBM/ Dark Electro








Aggressive, yet very melodic, Flesh Field’s sound is a very distinctive one among the constantly growing flow of dark electro bands. The band was born in the late ’90s, when Ian Ross and Rian Miller started a collaboration that would later result in 2 very good albums: “Viral Extinction” in 1999 and “Belief Control” in 2001. For the release of  “Strain”, the band’s last material, Rian was replaced by Wendy Yanko, the voice that ranges from rough to musical and somewhat vulnerable, giving a modern and edgy feel to Flesh Field’s harsh electronic layout.

“Strain” was released in 2004 and it represents the end of a wonderful and creative musical project, if you don’t count the demos and remastered tracks that were promised to the fans and that can be downloaded from the band’s official website. Compared to the previous albums, this third one is angrier and a lot better. Flesh Field’s sound has upgraded to the maximum with this final release that includes many new and unique elements, such as the symphonic and orchestral areas found on “Epiphany”, as well as the choir work from tracks like “Reflect the Enemy” or “Seethe”. The album features a basic structure of EBM rythms and synth sequences that intertwines with metallic guitar riffs and both acoustic and electronic percussion in order to build a sound spectrum that would satisfy even the most pretentious tastes.

Although some melodic lines are rather simplistic, each of the 12 songs tend to stick to your brain after the first listen. Sometimes starting with slower, string-laden parts, the songs drift into a fast, furious and catchy tempo.

Flesh Field has chosen great titles for the songs on “Strain”, resuming the essence of the lyrics in just a few very suggestive words. The fact that the band’s name is actually an unofficial term Ian Ross came up with to describe the psychological defense mechanisms of rape survivors gives fans a sneak-preview of the themes that Flesh Field approaches. Behind the general animated and intense atmosphere hide lyrics that reveal deep and personal emotions expressed with brutal honesty. Concepts such as self-consciousness and self-preservation are recurrent throughout the album. Most songs speak of getting hurt, an experience that everyone can relate to, and the methods each person finds in order to cope with those destructive feelings that follow. Some may resort to building walls around them, while others use rage as a weapon. The songs on “Strain” are rich in emotional content: “The Collapse” is an ode to decadence, “Recoil” presents an intense duality and conflict between the real, hidden thoughts of a person and the masks they wear on the outside for protection against the deceptions, lies and suffering brought on by others. On a slightly different note, “The Eucharist” slides into the religion realm, portraying the brainwashed people who are slaves to their gods. From beginning to end, the songs on “Strain” depict a fairly complete image of the flaws of human nature.

Ian Ross’s voice remains as powerful as it was on the previous albums, mostly undistorded on this material. As for Wendy Yanko, she truly shines more and more with every passing song, constantly surprising the audience with lots of very interesting variations. It is truly impressive how she can switch from the aggressive tone used on “The Collapse” to the melodic, soft and haunting voice featured on “Uprising” or “Epiphany”. From this point of view, Flesh Field has improved greatly since her arrival, Wendy possessing much better vocal qualities than her predecessor Rian Miller.

Energic, dense and creative, “Strain” is the album that shows Flesh Field’s musical potential better than any other release. The American duo found the best way to exist the music stage by leaving behind a memorable piece that can very easily become addictive for electronic fans, but can just as easily bring joy to the ears of metal enthusiasts that will appreciate the amazing guitar work included on the album.




~ by laurieind on October 2, 2011.

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