Jan 2019 10

Only Flesh - Cells OutOnly Flesh
Category: Industrial / Rock / Punk
Album: Cells Out
Blurb: Pittsburgh’s industrial/rock suspension group is back after an eight-year-long hiatus in an album that sounds like the band is having the time of its life. Unfortunately, the listener’s mileage may vary.


Pittsburgh’s Only Flesh is an industrial/punk/shock rock suspension group that’s been around for the better part of 20 years. The band has released four albums and one EP during that time with Cells Out being the first release in eight years. The music sounds like what one would expect to be played in a strip club if the building were on fire and people didn’t seem to care. There is a sleaze to the overall aesthetic, with album titles such as Strap On Crucifix and Audiolovesludge, while the live shows have a body horror vibe with the incorporation of extreme piercings and flesh hook suspension. Earlier in the group’s career, there was a more direct industrial sound leaning heavily into aggrotech, but as Only Flesh has progressed, the band has traded industrial sounds for more punk and rockabilly. The other thing that seemed to have evolved is singer Revina Lower’s vocals; in earlier days, Lower had his own raspy vocal sound, later occasionally veering into sounding more than a little like Marilyn Manson, although it didn’t dominate his style.

Cells Out continues this progression, with only a surface level industrial aesthetic. Most of the tracks are a standard four-piece rock configuration with some additional production thrown in, not unlike many standard rock bands today. But Cells Out doubles down on the Manson-esque vocals. That may not be a fair comparison to make, but it is unavoidable; this album will remind you of Marilyn Manson, but that’s not to say that Cells Out doesn’t have any positive elements. “Prettiest Mistake” is a radio-friendly track with a standard, but catchy, hook-laden chorus, while “EgoTron” is the most interesting and fun song on the album, taking on a psychobilly speed and sound that slows down in the bridge for an honest-to-god classic rock guitar solo, complete with accompanying piano and flute. It jams a lot into its four-minute runtime and it feels like it would be great live. “Stillborn” brings out more of the industrial elements, having a punchy kick drum, synths, and glitched out vocals as part of the mix. There is also a pretty straightforward, rocked out cover of “Superfreak” that doesn’t do much to make the song more interesting. “Love-Coma” brings back that fast-paced punk style before slowing things down with “Last Call,” an eerie acoustic number that really does sound like an outtake from Manson’s Holy Wood.

The album also includes some updated recordings and remixes of songs from previous albums. “Faded 2.0” does a pretty good job of cleaning up the random effects and extra vocals that were in the original and streamlines it into a better and more powerful version of the track with more low end to the mix. On the other hand, the Colorblind remix of “Favorite Shade of Grey” doesn’t do any favors to the song, adding a dance beat, but taking out a lot of the bass so it rocks less and doesn’t seem like it would work for the dance floor either. The Infected remix of “Sexual Holocaust” by BILE’s Krztoff takes what is essentially just a fast rock song and pushes it into industrial/metal territory, complete with harsh double kicks. Cells Out ends with “Last Circus,” an eight-minute creepy carnival soundtrack with sparse vocals, which never picks up and never pays off. It’s a slog to get through.

Overall, it sounds like Only Flesh is having fun and it feels like the songs are better suited to a live setting, which is where the band seems to shine. But this writer was wanting to get past the vocals and hoped that by listening to it more that he could see past the similarities. But the more this album is listened to, the more it will sound like Manson outtakes and tempt you to just go listen to “Reflecting God” again.
Track list:

  1. So It Begins
  2. Of Men and Mice
  3. EgoTron
  4. Prettiest Mistake
  5. Stillbirth
  6. Smother Her Light
  7. Superfreak
  8. Addiction Puppetry
  9. Love-Coma
  10. Last Call
  11. Put My Love in You 2.0
  12. Faded 2.0
  13. Twitch 2.0
  14. Favorite Shade of Grey [Colorblind Mix]
  15. Sexual Holocaust [Infected Mix]
  16. Last Circus

Only Flesh
Facebook, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, YouTube
Rotten Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Douglas Leach (nowandforalltime)

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