I must admit right up front that I’ve not been a big fan of incomprehensible vocals, clean or growly. I like to be able to understand what the singer is trying to say, not just how angry they are at something. Angry is fine, but I want to know what you’re angry about. Having said that, I am constantly trying to broaden my metal horizons and I’ve been looking for a gateway growly band to get me interested. hereAndNow might not be the gateway band I was hoping they’d be, but they’ve opened the door and pushed me headfirst into the genre.

Most bands have a particular sound that moves through every song they do. Sometimes you can listen to it for hours (late 90’s Radiohead) and sometimes it’s a chore to get through two songs (post 2008 Radiohead). Flipside Story certainly has a particular sound and it’s not too hard to listen to the whole album in one go. While it can be a bit monotonous at times where some songs literally run together so you can’t tell where one stops and the next starts, but there are some solid tracks in the growly marsh. The vocals were largely incomprehensible the first time I heard them, but over time I’ve begun to understand more and more of what Ivo Kalyonski was saying. The guitars are unrelenting in their pace and power, the drums never overstep their bounds and the bass breaks through every here and there to let us know it’s there. At times the album throws walls of sound at you, other times it subtly layers everything together and then surprises you with more crashing riffs with some keyboard thrown into the mix.

It’s hard for me to really break down each song as they all did kind of flow into each other, but there were two very distinct standouts.

Victoria Dashova‘s vocals on theHydra were a totally refreshing surprise. Everything stops while she sings and then a wailing solo brings us back in to the meat of the song.

Another sidestep was the proggy jazz sections of spaceElevators courtesy of Peter Georgiev. More of that please! It broke up the sound and gave the music an extra layer that some of the other tracks were missing.

Overall, I liked Flipside Story and it was enough to entice me into a darker, more growly world. Would I buy a patch for my jacket? Probably not. It’s good, but the album hasn’t rocked me enough to add to my collection and I’d run the risk of the terrible ‘poser’ moniker (who still uses that, honestly?) if I had a patch for a band I rarely heard. If you like growls, give these Bulgarians a go!

Flipside Story is out now