Tiger Flowers EP (The Path Less Traveled Records)
In case you haven’t gathered this from my millions of random references in my reviews, I am originally from New York City. Thank you very much. I’m also very proud to rep all of my hometown bands from my preferred sub-genre of thrash, to good old NYHC and right on through to the current wave of death and black metal bands currently tearing up the scene (there is actually a scene again-huzzah!). So it was cool to get the debut EP by TIGER FLOWERS to review because I knew a few of those guys back in the day. Or should I say, my old band opened for JOHNNY CAGE IS A FAKE and MY BITTER END in NYC earlier in the last decade. Guys from those bands became TIGER FLOWERS, so named for the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion. Why is any of this relevant to the review? It’s not, but if learned anything from my time in corporate America, it’s the mantra of full disclosure at all times. The skinny is those bands were pretty cool back then, the one track I heard recently on a comp was really good and so the buzz I was hearing on this group seemed warranted.
Opening up with “Cuts” the band shows an immediate take no prisoners approach to song craft. After about a minute of lonely, angular guitar notes the track explodes into waves of dissonant, gut-wrenching tones. With a flair for the avant-garde and the extremely pissed vocals of front man Jesse Madre. Combining the best post-hardcore of CAVE IN and an almost grindcore sensibility of unbridled rage makes the song really powerful. “Last Horse” is another punishing song with many creative twists and turns. Similar to THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, you have a band deftly able to genre blend and bend discordant anti-melodies to their will. There is a lucid moment a third of the way through the track where it gets trippy and somber for a moment, showing the stripes of a band that has been around the block once or twice. Psychedelic guitar effects warp the reality of the song in a nod to BOTCH and take it to an unexpected plateau. When Madre implores “it’s do or die, it’s do or die” you don’t doubt his convictions for a second. “The Weight” has a familiar feeling to it with an urgent take on a jazzed out drum riff and another spastic chord progression from Dean. Will chimes in some excellent distorted bass punctuated by more great drumming. “Drag”, which is the song I already knew is just killer. Obtuse riffs and brutal beats full of cultivated sickness ring out. The song has several movements like a sick little symphony, changing stylistic directions many times. At about nine minutes long, it feels as grandiose as its intent to alarm and enlighten the listener all at once. This music is beautifully chaotic and fully unpretentious; made by guys that obviously love music and value artistry. I can’t wait for the full length.
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes