Comprised mainly of reworked versions of material that spans their career thus far, FLAW's Republic/Universal debut "Through The Eyes" is a fairly cerebral assault on the senses, conjuring up equal servings of modern metal, prog rock and post grunge with each spiked dosage. Sounding heavily inspired by Tool and A Perfect Circle, the band combine sweeping melodies and mature drawn out arrangements with explosive new metal rage ala Disturbed, rounding it all out with a touch of introspective groove akin to Breach Of Trust or in some ways, finger eleven.
With a weathered emotional approach that draws an uncanny resemblance to Tool's Maynard James Keenan, FLAW frontman Chris Volz's foreboding moans and croons emphasize his words with a sweeping grace, only to explode into jaggedly delivered contemporary metal tinged exorcisms. With the fierce and multi-faceted dynamic dual guitar work of Lance Arny and Jason Daunt, the band create walls of twisting vibrant melodies that ascend to spiraling heights, only to buckle over and trap the listener in a fiery wreckage of fearsome modern metal crunch. The bass parts also seems to draw a heavy Tool influence, laying down an array of haunting percussively hit grooves that set a stern path for the music to follow, working hand in hand with the menacingly, yet extremely calculated drumming performance of band sticksman Chris Ballinger. With a consistent battering of dulled snare hits and crisp cymbal and hi-hat variation, the percussion takes shape with a very heady nature, greatly adding to the provocative atmosphere sculpted by the sparse inclusion of keyboard parts, which also come courtesy of band guitarist Jason.
Perhaps the most surprising quality of "Through The Eyes" is the emotional maturity it possesses. In a time where most bands prefer to continually push onward with a savage aggro based assault and only add in melodic aspects for a chorus or breakdown, FLAW instead seem to be melodically based first and foremost and aggressively based second, in a sense reversing the process altogether. There's also a distinct ethereal quality to their craft, which allows the songs to develop and draw the listener in almost subconsciously, while also generating an overall sense of weathered dignity. However, though the band excel at churning out lush soundscapes, the Tool/A Perfect Circle influence is quite heavy throughout this album and though it may not be as blatantly borrowed as some of their peers, it is still clearly noticeable, draining a considerable amount of the originality it could possess. Another possible con for the album is the fact that a lot of the songs tend to be fairly drawn out and tepid in pace, causing the album to lull on around mid way through. Though the momentum is eventually picked up again as the disc finishes off, the album definitely requires a more patient and attentive mindset to enjoy as a whole. All in all, "Through The Eyes" is a strong showing from a band who have a lot to offer. The musicianship is gifted and the song ideas border on epic proportions. In fact, the only noticeable "flaw" is that they could benefit from trimming some of the proverbial fat a bit closer to the bone next time out, because in their current state, they at times can feel a bit too long winded and unnecessary.
(3.5 / 5)