Columbia Records’ latest heavy metal baby Flybanger sure has a lot to offer in the God of Thunder vocals department. Thanks to vocalist “Garth”, we are bludgeoned with many a clichéd blast of guttural grunts and shouts, a-la Glenn Danzig. Of course, other comparisons have been drawn. Metallica, Pantera, and basically any early ‘90s metal that you might care to reel off have all been mentioned in the same breath as Flybanger. But Garth also reminds me of Layne Stanley and Chris Cornell. Whomever he’s sounding like in whichever of Headtrip To Nowhere‘s 12 tracks you’d care to choose from, one thing is certain: the album’s title suits it quite well.
The press kit that went along with this album was pretty amusing. Thrill to the fact that “Back in 1996, while touring Canada…[the band’s] vehicle flipped over and landed in a snow bank off the side of the highway. The freak accident left drummer Rob Wade with a serious leg injury, their former bass player with liver damage, and what was left of the mangled equipment needed repairs.” But did that stop them from gigging? Hell, no! “With the help of passing motorists, they managed to pull the van out the embankment, got back on the road, drove several hours to Toronto, did the gig, and then went to the hospital.” Yes, Flybanger has indeed lived out their very own Spinal Tap moments.
But Garth insists that “This isn’t like the typical metal records making the rounds these days.” I wish that were true. It may not be rapcore or of the Limp Bizkit/Korn school of rock, but it’s definitely nothing new. You’ve heard it before; tough guy screams, nearly constant shouting of lyrics, chunka-chunka guitar riffs, and a pounding beat with a very deep thud. I do admit that Flybanger hits the occasional glimmer of melody like they do in the opening “Cavalry” and “Radical”. But all too soon, they drift into macho territory as the goofy “jazz” intro to “Blind World” slips away to allow Garth to declare “Yeah…check this one out, bitch! Hehehehe….” (he sounds decidedly Dr. Evil-ish during this moment) and then goes straight into the sillier “When are we gonna finally meet / When are we gonna finally meet / When are we gonna finally meet/Disoooooooorder?”
“Evelyn” is an even bigger waste of time, with it’s “Fuck you and your fucking shit!” coda. Man, that’s just downright tough. Not typical? I think that theory just went down the toilet completely. Later on, we are treated to another typical slab of rawk, this time in the drug song guise of “Crackballs”. A tale about coming across a female crack smoker who promises bliss through the drug, and plenty more pointless punctuations of the word “fuck” (sorry, but I really can’t keep a straight face when it’s trying to be seriously taken as a tough expletive in tunes like these) fill out the song.
In case you didn’t know, Flybanger used to be known as Jar. Again, the press kit really wants to sell this band to us. “So how devoted are their fans? Let’s put it this way, some of them are so dedicated, they actually had ‘Jar’ tattooed on their bodies. When legal matters forced the band to change their name, the group set up a promotion with a local radio station in Vancouver, offering free Flybanger tattoos to those who needed to ‘update their skin’.” Well, if that doesn’t move a few thousand units of Headtrip To Nowhere, then I’m not sure what will. The kids really love ‘em though, so I’m led to believe from their home page. Oh yeah, and the album was produced by Matt Wallace (Faith No More). As for me, I’ll be banging my head (and my flies) to something a bit more legit. Fuckin’ A.