The Flatliners have come a long way since their ska days of Destroy to Create. Both the band and their sound have matured significantly, and they’ve managed to make quite a name for themselves, despite having only released a total of four full lengths and a handful of EP’s and 7 inches. Their latest album, Dead Language, is thankfully a far cry from the band’s early years, but not enough of a departure from the more recent Cavalcade or even The Great Awake to allow it to stand on its own.
Dead Language kicks off on a high note with the album’s title track, but disappointingly descends from that point forth. Like nearly all of the Flatliner’s albums, Dead Language seems to blow its proverbial wad at the onset; descending thereafter with only scattered highlights. The title track itself is impressive; replete with the intensity and galloping beat seemingly absent from the remainder of the album.
“Dead Language” segues into a poppier little ditty by the name of “Bury Me,” which keeps a similar pace to the first track; but then embarks upon an entirely different direction with “Birds of England”… after which the album becomes a mundane mix of songs more reminiscent of pop rock than punk.
Vocalist and guitarist Chris Cresswell’s singing capability has never been brilliant, by any means, but adequate for punk rock. On Dead Language, however, there’s this persistent and nagging feeling of Cresswell overcompensating to make up for what are glaringly obvious vocal shortcomings: listen to “Caskets Full” for evidence.
“Quitters” harks back to the initial title track in terms of pace and tempo, but sub-par vocals drown any opportunity for the song to shine.
Closing Dead Language out with “Young Professionals” and “Brilliant Resillience”, it appears as though the band was making a futile attempt to recapture the vibe of the album seemingly unleashed at the onset, yet after enduring the “meat” of Dead Language, it proves too little, too late.