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May 23, 2024

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Flamethrower (Dead Teenager Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

They do just what the name says on this sixteen song bombardment of senses dulling speed Punk. There's no scene stealing or Seattle-bred associations to be made here, these four guys just throw 'em up there in two minute increments of self-deprecation and so-fucking-what?? and see what sticks-- and most of 'em do! There's the occasional random act of senseless slowdown with a tune like "Drowning And Empty" or "The Job" but otherwise we're running a rich mixture of about 90% track power that's got the engine over-revved and stretching the same riff to the point of permanent exhaustion! Carbon deposits aside, Flamethrower's spit-soaked assessments of personal discontent come through refreshingly loud on the one hand, irritatingly static on the other like an inescapable Marshall amp glued to both ears emitting stress-induced screams from an altered state of spirit. Split nerves aside, Flamethrower's self-proclaimed ideal to put "evil" back into Rock is dead on; if not literally taken as actual repetitive refrains of soul selling sacrifice to the satanic one himself. The songs are first person views from the garage to the highway and highlighting the ever-present pathway problem peddlers posted at every corner. With lead vocalist Brian High's Lemmy-like liquor-soaked wail and the band's Zeke-inspired guitar power, the tunes hammer away on the notion of teenage Pop posing as Punk as not a single note presented here has anything to do with arena-filling anthems and toast your neighbor sing-alongs. The lyrics are right from the garbage and the songs -- pick 'em -- work interchangeably well from one gratuitous rant to another whether dealing with "dropping out," "breaking down," or "selling your soul to the devil for an ounce of speed and a spot on Letterman with Lemmy!" The stage is set for a band like Flamethrower to spread their prison cell poetry and four-barrel love for life's left lane on the listlessness of the Rock industry and return the missing element of danger and defiance.
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