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Music Review: Fluwid – From Surface to Suffocation

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There’s nothing I can point to that makes Fluwid stand out above other metal bands. They are not the ultimate warriors of the gods of metal. However, something about them is intriguing. I’ve kept them on my mp3 player for a while now, listening to them even when I wasn’t consciously thinking about this review.  Something held me back from deleting it.

Fluwid is a metal band from Dayton, Ohio and I like the name and their font.  The name is easy to recall, it rolls off the tongue and is curiously misspelled. After searching for a clandestine meaning behind the spelling, all I could come up with was an acronym for wid – “when I drink.” Is that what they intended? I don’t know, but it fits well with the word fluid.  The artwork for just the band’s name is pretty cool, too, a kind of chaotic calligraphy.

That’s the rhythm they seek on their new CD, From Surface to Suffocation, the rhythm, the tension, between chaos and order.  So here’s a few thoughts on the band and the CD.

The best song is “My Only Regret.”  It sounds like a raw, young riff straight off Kill ‘Em All.   This song has the energy and rhythm that the whole CD needs.  It contains beautiful head banging riffs overlaid with a squealing lead.  That’s the soul of metal there, they need to tap into it more often.  The leads in many of the songs were very salient, reminding me of old Dokken and the like.  “Rose Red Lie” also features some cool guitar work; good melodic power, excellent prolonged metal crunch, like a jackhammer sometimes.

Then there’s “Six Demon Bag.”  It’s either a reference to World of Warcraft or an experimental rock band called Man Man or Big Trouble in Little China, an odd movie from the 80s, none of which I know jack about.  The song, though, has some tight timing, good structure and this is the song that has some Amon Amarth-like vocals at times.  On most of the songs the Fluwid vocalist displays a good growl, fitting for modern metal.  The non-growl portion is a little tepid – kind of nasal, whiny, and mopey.  Every once in a while there were strains of Staind or Seether and at other points their vocal attack reminded me a little of Five Finger Death Punch, though Fluwid is nowhere near the level of aggression that Death Punch deals out.

The production value of this record is a drawback for me.  It was all very flat, two-dimensional, like a boot-leg copy of a movie made on a hand held camera in the theater.  Maybe that’s because I downloaded the music and it was not a good compressed version.  If the hard copy CD has a fuller sound this will be a better experience.  It hurt the drums.  There was no chest cavity resonating thump out of the kick or the toms, no crack from the snare, just an automated clack.  Once you get acclimated to the sound it doesn’t stand out, but if you pause and go back, it’s hard to get back into the song without obsessing over the flatness of the drums.  On all the tracks the drums were pretty straightforward, no intricate rolls or accents or anything.

But overall it’s a good showing.  The band’s MySpace page has samples from two other CDs and there’s some good music there.  It’s worth listening to.

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