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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Album Review: Figure Of Six – Brand New Life

Who knew that metal was a numbers game? I’m blazing through ’s third album, Brand New Life, again and thinking it sounds an awful lot like has been spot-welded onto . There you go then… 5 + 1 = 6. As you may have guessed, this is my first taste of FO6, and it’s left me wondering how I’ve not come across them in any of the 7 years they’ve been knocking around.

A bit of intense research reveals that they are an Italian sextet, naturally, who have always worn their late-90s hard rock and early-00s nu-metal influences like badges of honour. Brand New Life is proof, however, that they’re not entirely mired in retrospection. Here, they have also incorporated more current trends for warm, gently warping samples and vicious synth attack to beef up their standard of melodically-rich, pounding metal. Based on that description it’s no surprise to find the seemingly omnipotent Tue Madsen (, , ) producing.

Thickly-chugged guitars and brutish bass sidle up to the whack-whackety-whack of the snare to create an impressive groove. The rhythms wedge open gaps for the samples to divebomb in and out when they’re not integrated from the start. The sordid threesome of “Take Me Now”, “Losin’ My Mind” and “Lady Enemy” brush shoulders with the mind-expanding, industrial-edge of and , whilst the title-track and “Losin’ My Mind” nestle up to the muscle-bound powerhouses of and .

The only trouble is that, above all this, you’ve got a vocal that is all-encompassing and, as Enrico “Erk” Scutti is the only vocalist listed, I’m presuming he has double, nay, treble-layered it, as it rattles around inside your skull like a determined moth against a lightbulb. It has that irksome (or Erk-some, if you like) effect of homogenizing the tracks. He seeks unobtainable notes when he’s not hammering out the same ones over and over. Occasionally tracks like the slower-paced “Siren’s Call” (Scutti’s peculiar pronunciation of the word “siren” is guaranteed to glue itself to your brain) or the palm-muted, distortion-loving grunt of “War From The Inside” get them out of a hole at just the right time, but then they go and drop some almighty clanger like the Euro-pop ugly of “Something”. Not only does the backline lope along like a sickly, three-legged camel, not only does it contain the utterly abhorrent line “You don’t have to feel so paralyzed when you’re in my paradise”, but have also decided, in their infinite wisdom, to make it the final track on the album. This, then, is the lasting flavour they want you to take away with you is it? – sadly, I’d hazard a guess that you’ll be washing your mouth out with soap after tasting this little doozy.

Apart from a quartet of perfectly palatable tracks in the middle, Brand New Life is a disappointing throwaway album of bland filler – judging by the lukewarm response to their 2008 album, Aion, this may not come as such a big surprise to many. I guess, with all these numbers flying about, there’s only one that matters in the end, and I’m afraid it’s not all that generous this time around.

Also online (with samples and score out of 5) @ The New Review = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/figure-of-six-brand-new-life

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