False Flag – Metal Birds (3″ CD-R, FTAM)

False Flags is Justin Marc Lloyd’s other other project, an excursion into some extremely harsh realms that often features static, cut-ups, scratchy electronics, and simply a lot of other things that his other projects don’t utilize. There’s a difference between this harsh noise and Pregnant Spore’s; Metal Birds is really quite demanding, with short tracks that tend to move fast and jarringly.

There’s a hint of power electronics to False Flag, as there are some manipulated vocals that play underneath scratchy fuzzed-out static and pulsing lasers of feedback. But Metal Birds just as easily defies expectation, and the multitude of short tracks means that the CD-R moves back and forth from different sounds quite nicely.

There’s a lot to take in, from the mundane and dirge-like movements of  “Planning” to the more chaotic, intensely compressed sound of the lengthier “Manifesto.” It’s both shockingly heavy and also somewhat difficult to listen to; the constant shifts and changes of static, the little wavers in sound often don’t allow for hypnotism, but the sound is similar enough to almost warrant it. What it creates is a nice wall of noise that is difficult to penetrate, which means it’ll take multiple listens to get the nuances down, and the ear is bathed in pummeling noise each time, albeit perhaps with a different focus on what to listen to.

With that said, the generalities of the tracks do tend to blend together, and it depends on the mindset of the listener how much they’d like to decipher from Metal Birds. Should these tracks be considered a cohesive whole, or do the tracks just blend together to fit into the junk metal sound? Perhaps False Flag could use a sense of dynamism, but it’s also not necessarily a bad thing for each of these tracks to repeat motifs. However, the majority of Metal Birds does tend to blend itself into a collage of fuzz and judders.

But Metal Birds is not a bad harsh noise release, and it’s a new sound from Lloyd. You won’t hear the same things as Pregnant Spore, but you might hear much of the same sounds throughout the album. The blend of tracks can be a good thing if you allow it, but it can also be frustrating to distinguish much of the sound.

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