Length: 36:05 (min:secs)
Finding much influence from the bleak and forlorn landscapes of Lincolnshire, these five noisemakers known as Flatlands have created the thirty-six minute Vermuyden, which is the bands debut EP and was released on Sound Devastation Records during October of 2006.
Their sound is a widescreen landscape of gloomy despair that’s as cheerful as the Tiddy Mun bog spirit was to Sir Cornelius Vermuyden’s draining of East Anglian Fens. They craft broad, brooding passages of stormy emotions very much in the Neurosis or Cult of Luna style but with a singularly British grit that helps shape a unique style of their own.
Things begin gently with “Later Dawn”, which immediately projects the listener into a placid atmosphere of comfort before “Prehistoric Animal Brigade” takes over like a frenzied maniac flailing around on a peaceful village green. In their tribute to the dinosaur population that once roamed the Fenlands, they desecrate a soothing backdrop of sound with grinding riffs of alienation and homicidal vocals from the pits of depravity.
With “Sundown Park” and “This Song Is A Film” they maintain an impressive measure of melody amid periods of well fashioned and gentle guitar playing, but the feeling is always that something grindingly heavy is about to happen. And as if not to disappoint, they frequently perform an irregular rollercoaster ride of calm and storm, where pulverising metallic chords reverberate in nefarious harmony with a voice that shreds steel.
The restful “Slow Down For The Aslackby Bends” (pronounced Ay-zal-bee) is punctuated with well placed and hugely effective samples and also acts as a fine introduction to “Up The Wooden Hill To Bedfordshire”, which tells a story of bedtime arguments that lead to murder. The devilish riffs dig deep into the dark red depths of mother earth and drag down all that is virtuous to a slow and despicable doom below a mushroom cloud of cacophonous malevolence.
This is music that binds iron weights around your limbs and pushes you off the safe haven of solid ground into deep water, the burden of bass-heavy rumbling drags you deeper into a murderous morass of suffocating sludge. Flatlands show an impressive awareness of freedom in a claustrophobic space and have the ability to express intensity without exhaustion, using light amongst the dark for the best emphasis and to maximum effect. This is an impressive and enjoyable slab of sounds that definitely need to be experienced before planning any visits to Lincolnshire, as the warnings are all on display here in ominous shades of grey!
(12th May, 2007)