FLOOD: Ripped Into Exile

Ripped Into Flood

Flood is back – and fast – with their second release in 2 years! Fast is no joke, either … not only in reappearance but as in speedy thrashy progressive metal. There is no doubt that 2022’s debut Polarized was a statement release – the “other” guys in Tourniquet weren’t finished. And as great as those songs are, I felt they had a distinctive and familiar Tourniquet aural bouquet.

However, the musical muscle and creativity showcased on Polarized was enough to convince most listeners and fans that Flood had much more up their sleeve – the hope that a second release would more clearly demarcate the surgical margins of the Flood operation.

Hence, the team of Gary Lenaire (guitars/vocals), Guy Ritter (vocals), David Husvik (drums), Anna Sentina (bass) and newbie Joao Miguel (guitars) return to the musical operating theater with the riveting and dynamic Ripped Into Exile – the very title evoking visceral ruminations of trial and pain.

Ripped Into Loudness

Paradoxically, the deceptively “beautiful” cover art stands in stark contrast to the steely and aggressive nature of both the lyrics and the music. The 8-panel gatefold digipak CD is wonderfully designed and laid out – the lyrics and credits very easy to read. Where Polarized was packaged “all black,” this one moves to the opposite end of the spectrum in glistening white. I suspect this is probably not incidental.

While Ripped Into Exile is produced by Ritter and Lenaire, the mastering of Bill Metoyer may cause fans to rejoice or lament. Clean precise placement of all the voices here is a positive – no muddiness in this mix – but darn if the bass end is lacking a bit and the sound field is compressed, devoid of dynamic range. I hate to ever use the term “brick-walled” in this setting – especially for musicians and music engineers this talented – but this might be the only negative for fans to endure on this otherwise exceptionally executed collection of songs.

Cosmetics and sonic aesthetics aside, Flood has much to showcase from an original art and musical perspective during the 47 -minute procedure labeled Ripped Into Exile. Fans of metal will rejoice – its heavy (mostly), its technical (mostly), its creatively melodic (mostly), its harsh (at times) and most importantly … its metal!!

Operative Summary

The title track comes blasting out of the gates with speed and incisive commentary not only on the disease of “original sin” but also with the daily struggle we have in the world today staying spiritually focused and healthy. The drum bass of Husvik is so fast here, it sounds like a machine-gun “going cyclic.”

For those addicted to medical allegorical metaphoricalisms, “Autopsied Atheism” is a song which simply shreds from start to finish – the surgical detritus left for minds to process and dissect as the divine coroner catalogs/records the cause of death. The guitars here simply crush – both in rhythm and lead solo wizardry – as the heaviness of the metal blade reveals the post-mortem state of the “victim.”

“Autopsy done/Judged by the Son/Dead atheism thrown into the morgue/The cause of death, the very cause of death/the cause of death was the presence of the Lord”

In humble contrast, Guy Ritter’s “Burial” opines the questions of a humble man facing the darkness and “borrowed time” of the world in which we live,

“I don’t know where to go/Is this a burial?/Or do I need to trust God’s in control?”

Dreamt” slows things down for the exile from the Nile and the thread of the Word through time as Christ became “the very first born to rise.” Ritter’s voice attains the quality of old here and the vocal effects, while purposefully distorted in places, remain captivating and resonate with the doomy “Officium Defunctorum” of Psycho Surgery days.

The killer guitar riff in “Darwin’s Missing Chimp” might get buried in the forest of speed and drumming insanity which infuses this shred-fest of a song. However, despite the fierce frenzy of instruments, this one offers up a smile and one of the most infectious choruses on the release.

“There’s no monkeys in the tree/There’s no monkeys in the tree/In the family tree”

Interestingly, Husvik channels Neil Peart with the percussion extras while Sentina’s bass guitar takes a step into the limelight.

Others” could easily vie for one of my favorite songs from Ripped Into Exile with its guitar plucking intro reminiscent of Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.” Seriously, this song rules, the lyrics the greatest exhortation of all time. But while this may seem like a “ballad” track, the drumming is speedy and the guitar solos are fast and furiously executed.

Observationally, Ripped Into Exile, in a way, plays out like a Megadeth album. There are these thrash shredders and then the middle tempo songs and then the more expressive melodic/balladic songs. Guy Ritter’s “Can’t Undo” falls into this latter category. The song deceptively starts out like a slow burner, but then it picks up aggression, fades to acoustic and then with drum improv by Husvik shifts seamlessly back into intensity only to fade out with grace. Beautifully crafted and executed track.

Think Tourniquet with “Punk This.” This song feels like it could have been recorded during the Psycho Surgery sessions. Unfettered by label “advice and constraint” Flood are free to really let loose with these brilliant guitar solos. However, despite the praise, I don’t like the “tinny” cymbal sound and overly compressed drum bass. Ah, just let the music breathe… and let the drums sound more acoustic and less constrained/processed.

Eight songs deep and still waiting for the epic track? Me too. The Eastern influenced “In An Ancient Time” (6:29 duration) turns out to be the longest track on the album. The mini-epic does have some of that Iron Maiden vibe going on, and it does offer us a more “non-Tourniquet” style from Flood. However, I would have liked to hear this one fleshed out a bit with more experimentation.

Lenaire’s patented vocals infuse the closer, “Zero Hour.” This is a really good song as it, once again, doesn’t sound like either Echo Hollow or Tourniquet. My hope for Flood is that they pave a progressive path to new music, and this song goes far to showcase that tremendous potential while keeping the message of “hope in Christ” close to the vest.

“The Word is on your mind, written long before your time/Take the water take His side, gain your life and lose your pride/To gain your life you first must die, your flesh is weak/So don’t even try to please Him on your own no way/To Christ alone, Obey

Ultima Examen

Ripped Into Exile represents the culmination of the musical operative expertise of Flood, a plexus of musicians consisting of the metal amalgamation of Tourniquet, Extol and Echo Hollow. While audio technical limitations may lessen the impact of the aural experience for audiophilic listeners, the creative and technical execution of the individual participants far exceed these electronic constraints.

It is the opinion of this examiner that Flood has delivered an engaging, technically brilliant and spiritually insightful collection of songs which will most likely be praised and immortalized in the annals of heavy metal circa 2024.

23:51, 4 April 2024

Jonathan “Doc” Swank, M. D.

Track Listing:

1. Ripped Into Exile (3:56)

2. Autopsied Atheism (4:35)

3. Burial (5:29)

4. Dreamt (5:19)

5. Darwin’s Missing Chimp (3:50)

6. Others (4:42)

7. Can’t Undo (5:54)

8. Punk This (3:53)

9. In an Ancient Time (6:29)

10. Zero Hour (3:33)



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