Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flaw - Only the Strong Survive (Acoustic Version)

“It’s mine,
It’s pure,
And as decent as I can,
Make myself inside.
We all know,
Only the strong survive.”

At one point in time I was on a musical mission, I mean other than the one I’m currently still on known as the “Music in Review,” I was making an issue with one solid idea, that faster wasn’t always better.

For several years the friends I was staying in touch with musically were really into hardcore metal. I understood their love for such music, it was inherently rebellious, and in concept and in style it was bold and daring, but that didn’t mean it was good. I remember watching videos of various guitarists and being really upset with what I saw, they were playing amazingly fast and clearly had talented hands but the songs they were playing were a blur of uncomplimentary sounds. My more musically talented friends, and I have several since I have no talent, would be in awe with what such guitarist could physically do since they knew to appreciate the difficulty of it, but I was at an odd advantage, being an untalented ignoramus I saw the final product for what it really was, shit.

A lot of metal music, suffered from this for years. There was never a thought put forth to create a melody or rhythm and no matter how fast you can thrash a guitar if what you’re playing is an incomprehensible mess you are going to sound terrible.

I found the perfect song to illustrate this point, though the point may have been better made three or four years ago, I’d still like to make it. Flaw is a metal band that I do not know much about, but I do know one thing the music they make is, for the most part, an incomprehensible mess. Just another example among many who thought that they could create enough flash in their playing style to offset their lack of song writing ability, but Flaw did something that halfway proved me wrong. Flaw proved they could write a good song if they stopped being stupid.

Flaw – Only the Strong Survive, is not a very good song, in fact I would go so far to say it is a bad song. Nothing offensively terrible but definitely bad, that is until you hear the acoustic version. The acoustic version only has piano and acoustic guitar, no bass player demanding the lead guitarist’s attention, no drummer so stupid they forget they have a responsibility in the band, no metal mess, just a simple solid and very heart felt good song. They stopped trying to impress everyone with how dumb they can carry on and focused on the song itself and low and behold it made a world of difference.

Now this mission I was on was never a mission against metal music, I like a lot of metal music, it was a mission to save metal music, and while I doubt my influence made a great big deal of difference it seems with the central European movement towards symphonic metal change has come. But still any band that is all flash and no substance I can point to one song and say, “that’s what you’re doing wrong.” That song is Flaw – Only the Strong Survive.

Now to focus on the song itself for the last few paragraphs; it is a strong chilling song about death, and “we all know; only the strong survive.” Death has always has been a topic of great interest to me, and why not, it is the end of all things, the final chapter, the loss of someone forever, how is that not important and therefore interesting. It has become something that I now take for granted, but we all know, that only the strong survive, it is a major theme in everything I write, the strong surviving and the weak perishing, I believe it’s true and so does Charles Darwin. Even in our day and age of peace there will always be physical and emotional troubles that plague us, and the only way to survive them is to be strong. This is not a declaration of motivation, it is more of a mandate, it is a statement of fact, you must be strong, there is no recourse there are no other options. You must be strong.

Flaw managed to do a very good job of capturing this in “Only the Strong Survive,” it helps in the acoustic version you can actually make out what the singer is saying, instead of trying to sound metal cool, he pours his heart into the lyrics giving it a much more emotional and gripping tone. Being able to make out the words helps in a big way since the chorus is very solid and poetic, even though the verses are a little weak. It is a song that pulls you in, and by the end when the singing is over and the piano plays till the finish, every last note played seems to echo like the song is never going to let go of you.

Arguably Flaw got lucky with this song, but I’m pretty sure they just finally started using their talents intelligently.

“You will survive, I will survive, we will survive...”

Until later this month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

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