We Review The New Album From The Battery Farm – FLIES
After a successful 2021 EP and single teasers throughout this year, The Battery Farm is finally ready to show us their debut album, FLIES whose overall sounds reflect the gritty nature its title presents.
The Manchester guttural punk rockers enter the realm of violence, fear, and the breakdown of society with ferocious vocal and instrumental deliveries to go hand-in-hand for one of 2022’s most impactful and ear-drum-blowing records.
Released on Rare Vitamin Records, we have already had the privilege of hearing tracks such as Working Class Lad and Wooden Spoon Number. Both tracks showed off The Battery Farm as a band of variety from electronic industrial moments in WSN to the sour fuzz of WCL. Both singles were a speck of dust to the overall cataclysmic impact the full record provides and cements The Battery Farm as a punk band who aren’t messing around.
Like many, The Battery Farm is tired of the current state of affairs, and this is felt in the lyrical, distortion, grit, and driving bass guitar in multiple tracks. FLIES is an album that picks up from experienced working-class industrial childhoods and grows into angry and abandoned leftist adulthood. Tracks like WCL and the latest single, Poet Boy exuberate with high energy and heavy punk delivery that take influence from 80’s punk of the American and British persuasion.
From the get-go, the first sounds on FLIES are a droning fuzz into the unnerving bass guitar and storming weather sounds from the guitar feedback. The Battery Farm and the confident force that is frontman Benjamin feel like they themselves are the force as soon as their onslaught of guitars and drums kick in as the song fades out.
Working Class Lad continues the huge chorus approach of scratchy and prolonged vocal deliveries with distorted punk guitars and effects pedal riffs. The verses mix in a bit of funk to give their sound a funky groove before descending into the familiar sound of FLIES. The overall theme of WCL gives a personal feeling to the band that these are people who know the definition of working class and have lived it.
Re-recorded track, Crude Oil Water features the industrial touch that was mixed into Wooden Spoon Number and once again takes funk elements but the guitar and bass tones make things feel gross and uncomfortable whilst remaining engaging. What these tracks so far give the listener is that The Battery Farm can take something disgusting like their verse tones and themes and make you want so much of it in their up-to-11 choruses and bridges which, especially with Wooden Spoon Number, descend into a sonic chaos.
In The Belly Of The Beast is the most energy-packed so far on the album and as it approaches the halfway point it gives us another taster of The Battery Farm’s variety of sweet harmonies of galloping drums and racing fuzz. With the themes of death and existentialism, it is a panic-attack-inducing piece with a longing for escape and freedom. The second intermission ((flies)) is a moment to catch your breath, but even then the low-fi recording style and mentions of flies and meat still maintain the filthy themes of the album.
Everything Will Be OK begins with the gentlest guitars so far and a bass taking the helm like a soft 90s Tool song. The whispering vocals continue from ((flies)) into a soothing singing piece stating the song’s title like a mother comforting a child even though the world is collapsing around them. This is about as ‘soothing’ as FLIES gets.
Poet Boy sees each instrument simultaneously going on its own journey with the guitar fumbling around itself, the bass running around endlessly and the drums trying to keep control of themselves. As the track reaches its peak, everything comes together like a rat race as if the vocalist is trying the catch up to the other instruments and with the tempo taking a knock, perhaps succeeds.
DisdainGain dances with heavy metal distortion and guttural vocals ready to spin their disdain. From the track title, you can tell this is a song about intense hatred like an early Slipknot song. If anything the blending of punk and metal gives that retro nu-metal sound from its early days. The instrumental breaks sound like bullets that are fired by the anger in the lyrics of lies and villainy.
I Am A Man has a Gallows-esc punk vibe and shows The Battery Farm isn’t ready to let up even though this is the second to last track on FLIES. It’s another groove/punk piece filled with angst and much more stripped-back guitar delivery even though they’re still fuzzy as hell. This high energy isn’t enough for there to be one more track left that instantly changes the mood, The Battery Farm needs another record in 2023 that’s for sure.
The picked guitars and bass mixed with the returning narrative flies is a track that captures the overall essence of what we’ve just heard. However, this time the vocals are more central and audible before moving to Benjamin’s beautiful almost holy delivery. It feels like a eulogy for the album after the storm themes of the album have occurred and all that is left are flies.
Just before the predicted ending comes, The Battery Farm has one less ounce of ferocity up their sleeves and their melodic and chorus-heavy piece transforms into guttural distorted scratching like a million flies trapped in a white noise television.
FLIES is a valiant effort from The Battery Farm whose ferocious and distorted sound really feels the anguish and anger of modern-day society. The instrumentation is hard-hitting and experimental, the vocal variety matches the moods and themes of the album and shows how far the group is developing their sound from their previous EP. Things can only get more gritty from here on out for the band and this reviewer recommends this album as one of the finest albums he has heard this year. The Battery Farm is only just beginning.