Flobots

Survival Story

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    5
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For their sophomore album, Survival Story, Flobots turned up their amps to show off their range and their Rage Against the Machine and Tool influences, which, disappointingly, made them sound more like Linkin Park or P.O.D. With metal infused in their hip-hop and additional symphonic dissonance in their music -- courtesy of violist Mackenzie Roberts and trumpet player Joe Ferrone -- MCs Jonny 5 (no relation to Marilyn Manson’s guitarist) and Brer Rabbit are overshadowed by the heavier, darker grooves and struggle to keep up. At times, their rhythm falters and they sound out of their element, but their mainstay passion-fueled lyrics are still intact. Brimming with political distrust and continually spouting encouraging messages to the youth, “Defend Atlantis” predicts the upcoming apocalypse due to a declining economy and environment, while Rise Against's Tim McIlrath exclaims "We'd rather make our children martyrs than murderers" in the antiwar anthem "White Flag Warrior." Overblown production hurts the cause, with Beastie Boys producer Mario Caldato forgoing the home-grown sound of Check Your Head for big arena bluster. As is often the case, rap and rock are at constant odds here.

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