Will somebody please tell metal bands to stop breaking up around the same time they release awesome records? This year alone Light This City, ASRA and Prostitute Disfigurement pulled the plug after dropping bitchin’ albums, and now Germany’s flu.ID have followed suit, just a few months before their career retrospective, Iots, found worldwide distribution.
I’m willing to forgive the band its horrible name (seriously guys, a period? And capitalization at the end? May as well throw in an “0)))” or a smiley face emoticon), and the four useless electronic interludes that were slapped on post-fact to pad out the remastered contents of their two previously released 10-inches, both represented here in their entireties. What I will not forgive is how stupidly good flu.ID are at every style of extreme music they take aim at, and there’s a lot of ‘em.
The first 45 seconds of opening track “Ordinary Different” are pretty much just two chords, throttled from four angles at once. Sinewy drum ’n’ bass prog becomes cubist metal sculpture, explained by a screaming museum docent. Phobia has a grand ol’ time grinding through the AmRep catalog on “Enthymem.” You’ve got a nice Machine Head deathbanger on “B,” some kill.ER doom on the so-ironically-titled-it-hurts “Peace, Love and Empathy,” an über-aggressive Unsane massacre on “Pens Are Friends,” and the double-shot of all of the above that is “Strategy First.” And holy crap, can these guys scream. Except when they sing.
Flu.ID take only what they need from their influences, molding the screwball structures of one song from the scraps jettisoned from the last. There’s none of that gimmicky new-genre-every-second B.S. that saddles other bands with this many riffs per song, either. Each track invents its own meta-genre, balancing riffs in a dangerous game of metal Jenga. And somehow, flu.ID poison their aggression with tidbits of wackiness, like the seemingly pre-pubescent female screams in “Necromancer,” and the real-life babies (Onno & Rupert, how darling!) that offer free-form vocalizations on “New Imperial Sadism.” These guys could have challenged Strapping Young Lad in the Brutal und Fun department if they hadn’t broken up.
I shall pour one out for you, my dear departed flu.ID. But gawd, do I ever feel stupid typing out your band name.