It is OK to refer to a style of music as just "metal" you know. Just ask Los Angeles' FLATLINE and they will be the first to tell you that they play balls out, pure American metal. Since this is a CD review, we can split a few hairs and note the modern metal and thrash sounds heard here. FLATLINE do share characteristics with bands like LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, both considered to be prototypically "American metal" with that virulently aggressive strain that tends to incite violence. Don't get too excited though, as FLATLINE aren't quite in the same league as either of those titans. Regardless, fans of those acts, as well as PISSING RAZORS, BRICK BATH, and early MACHINE HEAD will hear oodles of head-banging moments on this release.
There is toughness aplenty on "Pave the Way", whether the razor sharp riffing or the strong mix of dive-bomb leads and melodic soloing. A tight ass rhythm section and Travis Johnson's Anselmo-esque (of course) vocals raise the violence level even higher. "Blessed by Death", "Deleted", and "Worn Thin" are the classic examples of it. FLATLINE mix it up though. "Generations Fall" features a classy break with lilting guitars and gritty spoken vocals, while the melodic guitar bits on "Collapse" and the super aggressive "Deleted" are a nice touch. "The Passing" mixes LOG riffs and cadences with a softening of the edges on a chorus that includes clean singing. "God as my Witness" moves furthest from the beaten path with insidious whispered lyrics and alternating moments of light (acoustic touches, keys, etc) and heavy. Finally, the production by guitarist Randy Weitzel in conjunction with the mixing, mastering, and drum-track recording of Logan Mader (ex-MACHINE HEAD) is robust.
No one will mistake "Pave the Way" for a "Vulgar Display of Power" or an "Ashes of the Wake", but the broken teeth and bloody knuckles approach will surely appeal to fans of that definitive style we call "pure American metal." Overall, good things are happening on this album and you just know the boys can tear up a stage.