Album Review: Flymore “Mind Tricks”

FLYMORE

Mind Tricks EP

‘Mosfilm’ ton-studios, Tranzformer Studios

Hard Rock, Nu Metal

RATING

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2.5/5 Worth a Peek

Using another band to summarize the album you’re reviewing is like using the word you’re defining in the definition, but there’s no way around it here. The name “Korn” is going to pop up all over the place because, well if it weren’t for the name “Flymore” on the album art, Mind Tricks could easily be mistaken for an album of unreleased material from that band’s garage days. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact that might be just what Flymore was going for, and fans of Korn scorned over their “Path of Totality” venture into the foreboding, alien realm of dubstep will at last find themselves in familiar territory again. You can practically see sharp-edged dreadlocks flailing about through the chorus of each furious song on this six-track EP. Mind Tricks is a competent effort by talented musicians dedicated to the roots of their genre, even if they’re clinging to Korn’s leg every step of the way.

Flymore was born from Russia’s emerging nu metal scene (see Nuteki and The Slot for other examples) but few bands attack the genre’s early-90’s origins as relentlessly as these guys. From the first track to last, Max Morozov’s brutally tortured vocals lead an all-out assault against… Well, what exactly Flymore is raging against is unclear. The lyrics vaguely swing from self-reliance to self-destruction and a cause for all this pain, regret and defiance is never named or even really hinted at. The words Morozov writes aren’t nearly as captivating as the way he belts them out, singing with the disjointed cries of a mental patient being interviewed during shock therapy, occasionally throwing out kidney-punch screams and waning moans. It’s a hell of a performance, but it’s also one you’ve heard before. Morozov sounds almost indiscernible from Jonathan Davis from the Issues and Follow The Leader albums. That’s just the most immediate throwback to Korn, with the instruments not far behind. Igor Muhkin and Jonas Blomqvist provide heavily-distorted guitars that grind through each song like a rusty bonesaw, flat and often missing the point. Unfortunately, their performance is the most formulaic to Korn of the entire band, as though afraid to stray from their source material. The funk-laced guitar intro to “No One No More” sounds carbon-copied from Korn’s “Justin” with the rest of the track coming off of “Right Now”. Muhkin and Blomqvist let loose on the brilliantly wild “All 4 Love”, but come off as boring the rest of the time. Paul Jones does his part to back them up with artillery-strength heavy bass lines, made especially powerful on “Lesson Learnt”. Overall it’s Gustaf Boden who sounds like he’s having the most fun, whether he’s leading a death march on “F.O.n.M.” or pounding skins on “Lost”.

With their powers combined, Flymore puts out a mostly enjoyable EP with more hits than misses. Lead track “F.O.n.M.” (Don’t ask me what it stands for) is heavily-compressed headbanger carbon that brings visuals of a mechanical army marching through a sea of crushed bone. “No One No More” has a dash of funk verses crashing into a crying chorus that works just the way it should, and “Leasson Learnt [sic]” bounces off Jones’ bass hits to glide along the smoothest guitar work on the album. But without a doubt the main attraction here is “All 4 Love”, a mid-album delight that brings together Flymore’s most diverse elements. Blomqvist and Muhkin hit their creative peak igniting an alt-rock battle every time the chorus hits, while Morozov’s vocals absolutely soar on this track before ending on a rare acoustic note. It’s the most promising sign that Flymore has its own sound trying to claw out through the ribcage of its Korn-colored flesh.

This, of course, brings us to the most polarizing aspect of Flymore: Are they a poor-man’s Korn or their latest successor? There’s absolutely nothing unusual about a band emulating their roots, or even outright copying them. Hell, we got Nickleback out of Alice In Chains. But Korn has always had a sound so dysfunctional, so distorted and gleefully sadistic that they stood alone even as nu metal rose to the top. It’s no small task to be able to replicate Jonathan Davis’s animalistic cries or the legendary synergy between Munky and Head, so to say that Flymore sounds just like Korn is equal parts criticism and compliment. That will be enough for hardcore fans of old-school Korn to swallow all of  Mind Tricks in stride, but others are likely to just take “F.O.n.M.” and “All 4 Love” and be done with the band.

Best Track: All 4 Love

Like this? Try:
Korn “Issues”
Cold “13 Ways to Bleed Onstage”
Love & Death “Between Here & Lost”

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