Released: 2011, Nordic Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Fastlane Flower’s website describes the band’s sound as “death rock with a taste of honey.” That should be your first concern when sitting down with the Norwegian outfit’s debut DEADLINE. What the hell does that even mean? Maybe this album had the misfortune of catching me on a bad day (or two or three), but I do believe that I’m about done with the female fronted power metal thing. Okay, in all fairness, DEADLINE isn’t a terrible album by any stretch, but Fastlane Flower do little (at least intentionally) to set themselves apart from the glut of other bands aping the same style.
“Agent of Chaos” opens the album with the expected driving riff and heavy synth effects. The riffs and presentation are pretty status quo, but vocalist Eline Stølan’s delivery is the only thing that’s really memorable on the album. I’d never be one to poke fun at anybody’s accent, but she’s got a weird kind of a Gaelic Alanis Morissette styled brogue that’s passed through a Scandinavian filter. Yeah, it’s kinda funky – but not the good kind of funky. Her syllabic emphasis in places reminded me of how Michael Kiske sang the lyrics to the first KEEPER album phonetically; not really knowing what the words themselves meant and certain phrasing standing out for the wrong reasons. Speaking of lyrics, the lyrics to “State of Emergency” are indeed open to ridicule – “this state of emergenceee/someone is calling meeee/the big house is watching meeeee.” I’ve listened to the tune several times over and have yet to figure out what exactly the emergency is.
And it goes on and on and on. “Monkey Business” attempts some upbeat and bouncy vocal lines, “Blue Moon” is the token power ballad, and “Secret Archive” shows Eline attempting some harsher scowls (which are just plain bad), but none of it feels at all genuine. The album progresses with each song having their own individual goofy moments that I won’t bore you with, but I felt embarrassed in places for the band as I listened on. I haven’t really mentioned much about the musical backdrop to the tunes, because there’s not really much to say. You’ve heard this before, and you’ve heard it done better.
At the end of the day, it’s a tired formula in general. I don’t believe for a second that these guys set out to intentionally make a bum record, but Fastlane Flower doesn’t offer anything new to the table, nor is there any real incentive for a passing visit. But opinions are like certain orifices, and I’m sure that there’s an audience out there that will see the appeal in DEADLINE. Check out Fastlane Flower’s website and decide for yourself.