it's a start...

Black Flowers (StrangeManagement)
Drunk Monkey

By Allen Howie

Black Flowers, the new release from Louisvi1le's Drunk Monkey, has all the prerequisites for a solid album of heavy metal: industrial strength power chords, throat-shredding vocals, dark lyrics cobbled together in the standard metal shorthand and a sturdy rhythm section to anchor all the mayhem. The problem lies in the songs themselves. Bound by their standard issue metallic roar, they all too quickly begin to sound the same. There's no single number that sticks in your head, even after repeated listenings.

What makes this a little disappointing is that, based on playing ability, this is a band with tons of potential. Singer Scott Miles knows how to turn a phrase and has the vocal power to make himself heard above the din. Likewise, guitarist P. (Funk) Richards works up a nice buzz, flashing the occasional lead that suggests something more is held in reserve. And the rhythm section of Rick Foley and Sean Mullins forge that anchor I mentioned, providing a solid backbone that keeps things from getting bogged down.

It may be that the band has set its sights too low. In putting together the kind of noise that metalheads love, they've waded a little too deeply into a marsh of repetitive cliches and the surly, sometimes misogynist lyrics that are the genre's stock in trade. And they may know their audience better than I do: while I like a slice of raw metal now and then, too much is ... well, too much. But Drunk Monkey obviously has the ability and the sheer force of personality to stretch a lot farther than they do on Black Flowers. I'll look forward to seeing where they take it from here.