I might be one of the least qualified people to review a record like this. I don’t listen to metal, and I really have no sense of what is considered good or bad in regard to it. Things that take influence from, and use tropes of, that genre are outside of my wheelhouse. Flesh Born is, in this regard, an interesting band to me. It’s a bit of a challenge. Promotional material paints this band as “screamo-meets-black metal.” I certainly can’t argue with that. I’m really familiar with screamo, but don’t know whether to shit or wind my watch when it comes to metal. I can’t talk about this record as an example of a wider genre, but I can talk about it as something I like.
Han is a killer of an EP, and you can tell the band has put a lot of effort into what they’re doing. It also serves as a great introduction to the band, especially for people like me who hadn’t heard them before. There seemed to be more of a grind influence on their earlier releases. While Han is still in line with All The Pain I Built Up and their split with Cara Neir, it does allow for a bit more space. Though, let’s be real, it is still aggressive as fuck. This is especially apparent on “Unforgivable,” which was originally released on that aforementioned split. They added an extra 20 seconds or so to the song, did the vocals in a different range, and more or less changed the very feel of the song. Jumping a song to 1:12 from 0:55 might not seem like a lot, but it is really noticeable. That is the strength of this EP. Flesh Born is building on the material they’ve released, but aren’t afraid to try things in a different way.
The music is chaotic. The songs are short (the longest being 2:40). The lyrics are the expression of anger and hate. Han is a lot like the soundtrack to the most fucked up, frustrating day of your life. Like, look at the song “Lament.” It is 40 seconds long, and the lyrics are “I want to rip the heart out of people who hate those whose only crime is being themselves. I get so much joy in knowing that they, like me, will die.” “The Fever of Feeling” is another short one that consists wholly of the lyrics ”I am miserable with hatred for you, for me, for everything.” This is not a happy record. This is a pit of frustration.
Is this a metal record? Maybe. Is this a screamo record? Definitely. Genre purists can sit and discuss that shit, this certainly isn’t the place. It fucking rules though.