The Flatliners - Dead Language (Cover Artwork)

The Flatliners

The Flatliners: Dead LanguageDead Language (2013)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: BryneBryne
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The evolution of the Flatlinersâ€"from an exuberant but very green ska-punk outfit to a mature, powerful melodic punk groupâ€"has been fun to watch and hear. 2010's Cavalcade had all the characteristics fans of the genre seek like buzzsaw guitars, melodic leads, anthemic choruses and introspective lyrics. What set it apart from the other 10,000 or so currently active melodic punk bands was the execution: the lyrics were much more than wrought notes about being drunk and sad; the musicianship was much more than leads pulled from No Division or Astray; the songs had an air of appealing rowdiness while also being very calculated and nuanced. Cavalcade felt different because it was different.

So, how does a band follow that up? In the case of the Flatliners, it's with their most direct record of their career thus far. Dead Language doesn't quite possess the wow factor Cavalcade did at the time of its release, but it's still a very good record that if anything, shows a band finally comfortable in their own sound.

The most immediate difference between Cavalcade and Dead Language is speed: while the former was pretty sonically diverse, it had plenty of burners like "The Calming Collection," "Here Comes Treble" and "Shithawks," among others, that largely carried it; the latter hangs its hat on more mid-tempo fare like "Birds of England," "Drown in Blood" and "Ashes Away." This isn't necessarily a bad thingâ€""Bleed" and "Count Your Bruises" in particular are still some of the most memorable songs from Cavalcade, and they're not exactly pushpit anthemsâ€"but the difference in urgency between that album and this one will be the first thing most listeners notice.

Dead Language contains a fair share of gems sure to become live staples for years to come, however. Opener "Resuscitation of the Year" features lots of quick drumming, cool guitar interplay and fun gang vocals; "Drown in Blood" has perhaps Chris Cresswell's best vocal performance on the album, his voice snarling around and within the song's excellent chorus; the poppy bounce of "Hounds" and "Caskets Full" set them apart from some of the mother mid-tempo fare on the record. Then there's "Quitters," which at 2:04 should feel awfully crowded with all its tempo changes and wild drumming but never does.

At 13 songs and 40 minutes, Dead Language feels a little too long, but a slight lack of leanness isn't enough to detract from what's a completely solid punk record. For the first time in their 11 years as a band, the Flatliners seem comfortable. This is their band; this is their sound.


People who liked this also liked:
The Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!A Wilhelm Scream - PartycrasherRed City Radio - TitlesThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundPropagandhi - Supporting CasteThe Clash - London Calling

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
hbwlons3 (January 3, 2014)

The rating is too low for how great this record is. Its a grower and a strong addition to their discography.

LiveFastDiarrhea (November 15, 2013)

This review is dead on. Not my favorite Flatliners record by any means, but it's a Flatliners record all the same.

rafiislost (October 10, 2013)

I never expected Dead Language to be better than Cavalcade because that album was just pure gold. The new direction they're going in isn't surprising either. Each succeeding album has been softer than the one before (while Cavalcade was in no way a "soft" album, it did have soft songs such as Monumental and Count Your Bruises etc [both amazing songs]) and Dead Language is without a doubt, a soft album. The songs are good, but there are definitely some filler/mediocre songs and that's a first for this band. That being said, it's still a good album. If I wasn't a huge fan of The Flatliners, I'd give this album a 3.5, but since they are one my favorite bands, it's easier to give this album a 4/5 (I'm giving it a 5/5 on this site to increase the user rating to a 4/5). Hopefully, they bring back the energy on the next album though. You can't expect any band to put out 5/5 albums for all of their releases. I'm just going to hope that this album is just a bump on the road for them.

Top Flatliners albums (in my opinion):

The Great Awake
Destroy to Create
Dead Language


Stand out tracks:

Tail Feathers (sounds like Gaslight Anthem)
Resusitation of the Year
Sew My Mouth Shut
Brilliant Resilience
Bury Me (sounds like Alkaline Trio)

soulbleed (October 1, 2013)

I've listened to this album about 15 times now, expecting it to grow on me. Instead, I'm still bored. All of the songs seem to just blend together with relatively few standouts. "Cavalcade" had much more personality and the songs were distinctive from one another -- the same can't be said for this album. It's the first one they've released that hasn't been better than the last.

LiveFastDiarrhea (September 22, 2013)

Great review. Didn't stick out like Calvacade but an excellent album. I love this band.

cincodemilo (September 19, 2013)

Fuck yes. As good as Cavalcade.

ricoock (September 19, 2013)

the band wowsome~

moop (September 19, 2013)

love it.. its been in constant rotation for the last 5 days..

AustinATX (September 18, 2013)

Dead Language is exactly what it needed to be. When Cavalcade hit, the Flatliners had proven themselves as a band that was a step, if not a leap above the cut (at what...twenty-one/two years old??). I've even heard veteran road dogs talking about them in recent years, saying things to the tune of, "Those guys have really become pros."...because they have! They write and perform at a level that most musicians (punk rock or not) can only dream of, and when you've taken your genre to all new frontiers in your early twenties, what are you going to do next? Choose a path of constantly trying to one-up yourselves, inevitably leading you and your band to an unhappy place in your careers as artists, or just write some solid fucking songs that both validate the trials and tribulations you've been through while also celebrating your own personal triumphs and victories? Well, when you've been playing and touring with the same guys for eleven years at the age of twenty-five, I'm guessing you'd just want to write some rocking tunes that personally mean a lot you and your band mates, as well as supplement your catalog with new material that you'll be able to enjoy playing day in and day out for the next eleven years.

And that, to me, is what Dead Language is.

It's not Cavalcade. It's not the Great Awake, and it CERTAINLY is not Destroy to Create. It's just another beautifully crafted heartfelt album that will at times leave you unknowingly headbanging in front of a room full of your friends, and at other times leave you contemplating the unexpected turns your life has taken as you've transitioned from one period of your existence to the next. And to tell you the truth, it doesn't leave single trace of disappointment with me.

One thing I do want to point out is that whether your opinion is "This isn't fucking Cavalcade!", "The Great Awake is still my favorite", "WHERE'S THE SKA!?!?!?!", or "I can't get Dead Language out of my head", I'm just grateful to see that so many people have a personal connection with the Flatliners' music, no matter what era of their catalog it comes from.

Any of you that personally know these guys know that they bust their asses as much, if not more than anyone else, and they deserve way more attention than they've received thus far. Of course, we all know that in due time, they'll have their day and deserve all the success in the world.

Can't wait to see these fucks at Fest.

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (September 18, 2013)

i will listen to this.....................

danperrone (September 18, 2013)


chickswithdicks (September 18, 2013)

Hmmm, I thought this was easily their best work even after first listen...

77punker (September 18, 2013)

Just picked it up, listened to it twice, didn't totally grow on me yet but I'm sure it will....can't help comparing it to Calvacade which was just fuckin' amazing....this band does kick-ass!!

levidolphin (September 18, 2013)

seems like an extremely hard working band and this record shows it. ill be rocking this out for a while. love it. soon the flatliners will be the headliners, i hope

mattbeall (September 18, 2013)

One of my favorite records so far this year. These guys have really grown into their sound.

tahoejeff (September 18, 2013)

Loving this record.Bury Me is so great. My favorite Fat release this year. Definitely in my top 10 of the year.

kursk64 (September 18, 2013)

I wish there were more songs about being drunk and sad which sounded like Astray or No Division :(

hatetheplacelovethechords (September 17, 2013)

This really is a pretty exceptional album, I'm not sure I get why people are saying it's not fast enough. Basically the slowest song off the top of my head is "Tail Feathers" which still has as much drive as most Gaslight Anthem songs. I think it might be my favorite of theirs, but I suppose it'll take time before I fully form my opinion of it.

fuckyeah568 (September 17, 2013)

This album, like all of my other favorite albums, has taken a while to grow on me. It is now my favorite Flatliners album. While some people think the album is too long, it seems to me that not a second is wasted. There are so many technical hooks and anthematic riffs that I can't get the songs out of my head.

I'm not sure why everyone feels the need to compare it to their past albums. If you want to hear Cavalcade again, go fuckin buy it again! The band has taken a bold new direction with this album and I believe it has paid off.

RiotRiot81 (September 17, 2013)

Good album , but no where near greatsville. Although, with that said I view this as a necessary record toward the evolution of their sound. The song writing and progression is getting more mature. In fact I'm willing to bet with the metamorphosis taking place their eventual sound will end up legendary...

telegraphrocks (September 17, 2013)

Sonically, this is their best sounding album.
But, musically, I think it's only better than "Destroy To Create". Close to "The Great Awake", but... not quite.
There's a bunch of REALLY fucking awesome songs on here, but there's definitely some filler too.
After my first listen, I only gave this a 6/10, but my love for the band made me listen to it over and over and over. I'm now at an 8/10 (yes, with filler, because the other songs are REALLY good), and I think that's where it's going to stay.

"Resuscitation Of The Year" is one of the best songs they've written.

1- Cavalcade
2- The Great Awake
3- Dead Language
4- Destroy To Create

deputywinston (September 17, 2013)

This album is definitely a grower, but even after it's had time to grow it doesn't quite reach the greatness of Cavalcade. The subject matter and themes of the majority of the songs verge a little too closely to Alkaline Trio-esque, "spooky" territory, and a couple songs ("Dead Hands" in particular) weigh the album down. That said, the good songs are great, and the instrumentation, particularly that of the bass and drums, are spectacular. One of my favorite bands, and despite my problems with the album, this will be one of my favorites of the year.

Blackjaw_ (September 17, 2013)

Love it. It already beats Cavalcade for me. Not The Great Awake yet though.

MN_DrNick (September 17, 2013)

Pretty solid release once again from them.

big_guy (September 17, 2013)

"Side note: I hear None More Black every time I listen to Hounds."


also Dead Hands sounds like Descendents in the verses

woodprop (September 17, 2013)

It's a shade behind Cavalcade, which still means it's a damn fine album. Love the opener and closer especially.

Side note: I hear None More Black every time I listen to Hounds.

fattony (September 17, 2013)

After several listens, I'd agree that it's good, but not memorable.

oldpunkerforever (September 17, 2013)

good punk record, like their earlier stuff better tho, I liked the ska elements-oldpunker-

Rich27 (September 17, 2013)

Never been a fan of this band as I've always found them to be stuck in the mire with so many other average bands churning out sub-par melodic punk. However, I like this album quite a lot: strong musicianship, good song structures and lyrically it's sets itself apart from many of the bands around today. Good stuff indeed.

whatchokesbegin (September 17, 2013)

This review is dead on. Cavalcade was my favorite record 2010, and not surprisingly, The Flats could only do so much (without completely changing their sound) with Dead Language to surpass expectations. The lyrics aren't as sharp, and while there are plenty of awesome hooks and refreshing vocal work, it doesn't quite hit me in the way I had hoped. I wish the subject matter were a little more diverse, as I feel like "Young Professionals" is the only track that really seems to reach outside the overall theme of the record. It won't be my #1 this year, but it will be in the top ten.

All that being said, it's still a very good punk record. It will be very well suited to the impending cold, depressing days when I'm feeling sorry for myself and need someone to commiserate with.

egg_face (September 17, 2013)

solid, slowly getting used to it....this will take time/

dumdrummer (September 17, 2013)

This albums blew my dick off, time after time. Is it Cavalcade? no. Does it need to be? no. This album is goddamn rock and roll, through and through. The first time I listened to Cavalcade was in my friends' basement, after their show the day before it came out. I was shocked at how much they had grown since 'The Great Awake'. They were my favourite band then, and they still are. When this album leaked I held off for a couple days, but finally gave in. I was floored. Chris sounds so much different, and so damn good. Jon Darbey slaps the bass, and every line is mindblowing. This is better than 'The Beauty Between', and up until now, that was my favourite album this year.

mrindecisive (September 17, 2013)

I guess I'm spoiled in that none of their previous records had to grow on me. This one felt a little disappointing, since it didn't knock me on my ass right away. Also, the lyrical themes that they've been using through all the material might be getting worn out. Originally, when they spoke about the album, they said it was to be a heavier affair, which was obviously not the case. If they wanted to make another game changer, they should have taken all the B-sides they've been putting out, and called that an album. That would have been amazing.

It's not a bad record, just forgettable.

thrusters (September 17, 2013)

Not as good as Cavalcade, but few records are. Still great, Cresswell's never sounded better and the songs are catchy as all fuck.

ak3punk (September 17, 2013)

I want to love this more than I do. It's slowly growing on me. I can't help but feel a bit let down because it hasn't pulled me in like "Cavalcade" did. I'm hoping repeat listens and hearing these songs live will change my perspective.

renatohc (September 17, 2013)

solid review but I'd give it an extra half point!

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