HexMachine by False Flags is a self-released debut mini-album, although when you give it a listen it certainly doesn’t feel particularly mini, this packs some considerable force. False Flags rise out of the ashes of the once spectacular Leeds DIY scene consisting of former members of Red Stars Parade, Whores Whores Whores & Year Of The Man: so it certainly doesn’t feel like a debut either.
Opener ‘Earl Black’ starts slowly, a gentle intro stopped abruptly by a sucker punch of savage hardcore, crushing riffs and disjointed time signatures. Slamming guitars and shouty vocals scream their intent and it feels fresh and furious. Reminding me somewhat of the late great Beecher with a hint of Dillinger Escape Plan the track builds in its heaviness throughout.
Followed by ‘Last Screen Goddess’ which is slower but with a refined intensity rather than diminished. This pulses along rhythmically, swaying and mesmerising and constantly building. There’s enjoyment to be had being swept along with the song.
‘Fate (Has A Driver)’ starts off with pounding drums, but with a more understated yet infectious groove infused into snarling, but more straightforward rhythms: which get the head nodding along with ease. There’s a notable intensification in their ebb and flow particularly in the solid groove of the bass work as the song progresses.
When we get to track ‘Pet Wolf’ False Flags start to show off their hardcore chops in full fury, the shortest at 2:15 this screaming statement is a short sharp shock to the system, build a substantial weight to the track before pausing momentarily before launching into the stormy intensity of ‘Namedropper’, which subsides then screams and smashes against the ears with a blackened throb and erratic pulse, giving you just enough pause for breath before suffocating you again with their punch to the gut sound.
Final Track ‘Phone My Wallet’ steps things up yet another gear and undulates between the now familiar pulsing throb and out and out blasting of discordant riffs, this album finishes with the sound of the band giving everything they have and then some, until they have nothing more in the tank and rolling to a cathartic stop.
This may be a debut album, but there’s an all encompassing confidence about this which harks back to their history within the Leeds DIY scene. Definitely a band to watch out for in 2016.