This Bay Area band puts the emphasis on the punk in post-punk.So rather than going all in at the grave yard, they lean more towards the darker direction bands like T.S.O.L and New Model Army dipped into. Their songs move much more like punk than death rock which still keeps more of a serpentine slink to it.With that said and to dispel an talk of them being goth or dark wave this is still a fun album. It's dark enough for me to rock it as we know most punk rock is too happy for my liking.
It's until the 3rd song "Gravity" that I can begin to hear where the goth label might be warranted and the singer's voice also takes on a more death rock moan than the shouty baritone which was more like Joey Ramone in pain than say Bauhaus. So far on my first listen it was the first one that really perked my grim ears up. The drums take on more of ominous pound like the Damned on " Only to Fall" and the vocals themselves fall back into more of shout crooning more on the chorus. The bass player who needs to be further up in the mix for the sound they are going for does have the goth tone dialed in ala Pornography Cure, but the guitars crack a dominant whip over them.
It gets darker on "Age of Reason" and I'm sure the tug of war the band is fighting with themselves but they need to cross over to the dark side for when the lean in that direction it certainly does them more favors than sticking to what I suspect are their punk roots. I heard metal being tossed around in relation to the bands and I'll set the record straight and say there is nothing metal about this album, not to say it won't appeal to fans of metal that listen to punk as well, in fact I would suspect that's their target audience. "Age of Reason" does carry some tension to it , but it's never released in a metal manner.
The descent into shadowy alley ways continues on "Systemic" which carries a similar tension, but the drumming and guitar are really intent on this being punk, though they have a pretty open mind as to what punk is , yet it still fits in with what the definition was in the eighties. The lower ranged mush mouth vocals are actually the bands weak point as they tend to give the songs a similar feel. The bass finally emerges to it's rightful place on " Kneel and Pray", the vocalist loses some of the mush in his mouth on this , though not dramatically, maybe he's fucked up or lazy , this could also be a hipster apathy, but they seem pretty genuine to me so I'm guess fucked up laziness.
Though the guitars aim for a similar bull's eye on most of this song there is something clever interplay and though put into the craftsmanship of the way the two parts mesh together leaving most of the hooks hidden in the guitar parts. There is a great kinetic energy to these songs which I'm translates well live and pretty solid songwriting which could have benefited from a better vocals mix, unless they leave the vocals buried in the monitor mix which wouldn't surprise me. I'll round this up to an 7.5, I appreciate the energy and where they are trying to go I think they could have benefited from a better vocal performance and production, which becomes a chicken or the egg riddle when trying to figure out which would have bolstered the other. If you have punk leanings are are already into goth/ death rock revivalists check this out for sure.
<iframe width="400" height="100" style="position: relative; display: block; width: 400px; height: 100px;" src="http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=1933246008/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=0687f5/" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0"><a href="http://thenewflesh.bandcamp.com/album/reality-2">Reality by The New Flesh</a></iframe>