In 2013, a guitarist named Julien gathered some friends to record some songs he wrote. Quickly it became clear that this was more than a studio-project and the band started to hit stages all over France. The bandmembers have been active in bands like God Damn, Butchery, Angela Parker and Yak but it seems Flayed is their number one project now. The proof of this is the pretty damn good debut album 'Symphony of the Flayed'.
What starts off with a kitschy organ intro, quickly erupts into a voyage through the history of hard rock, brought by some very skilled and experienced musicians. Opener 'Sweet Coverage' is a very solid and very enjoyable hard rock song, inspired by the likes of Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin. But Flayed doesn't want to stop there. In 'Free Mind' they turn into a full grown blues band and combine the typical blues sound with a modern grunge feel.
'Old Manners' is a fierce rock song with some early punk influences. So in only three songs Flayed takes you back to the glorious sixties and seventies but they have no intention of staying there. A short while later the eighties appear with songs that remind us of bands like Living Color. All these influences from different decennia and genres make 'Symphony of the Flayed' one of the most varied hard rock albums I've heard in a long while.
With the previously mentioned bands in mind, I think it's ok to say that there's no smash-hit like 'Speed King' or 'Cult Of Personality' on this album. However, 'Superhero' is, along with the opener, an amazing rock song and in all the album is very enjoyable. Title track 'Symphony of the Flayed' has a stoner rock feel, again blended with some blues but there's also something very chaotic about it. On 'Son Of Sickness', another punky rock song, you might think Lil' Wayne is hired to play the first part of the guitar solo. But quickly it becomes clear that this is Julien's sense of humour since he pulls out all the stops a bit later and proves to be a talented guitar player.
Bertant, the bass player and vocalist, is an excellent classic rock singer who has a raw but versatile voice. He easily reaches the likes of Corey Glover as well as James Hetfield but he tends to get a little too prominent at times. Sometimes I feel they should let the music do its work and tune down the vocals a bit but that's about the only point of criticism I can give. For the majority of the songs on this album the voice fits in perfectly and adds a sense of authenticity to this magnificent classic rock album.
If anything, Flayed seems to be a band with some great chemistry between the members who are all very experienced musicians. Their love for classic rock is extremely prominent on this album. 'Symphony of the Flayed' truly deserves a place in the shelf of every fan of decent hard rock, somewhere between Deep Purple, AC/DC (admit it, 'Machinefun' was written after a few hours of AC/DC listening, right?), Living Color and Rainbow. So if you're a nostalgic person, longing for the glorious years of pure rock 'n' roll, you really should get your hands on this because let's face it, this is pretty damn awesome stuff...