In the wake of their previous release Cavalcade, the last three years have seen the Flatliners relentlessly tour on both sides of the pond, climb every alternative chart in North America and celebrate their “10 Years at Sea” tour. Their new record, Dead Language, displays the dedication and development that only hard work can produce.

The record opens with what sings like a punk-rock lullaby. Brigham and Cresswell’s guitars dance over a 4/4 high-hat count that lulls you into a false sense of security before the tsunami begins. “Resuscitation of the Year” is an amazing opener with all the heart pounding riffs, breakneck speed and rich vocal melodies that Flatliners fans have been waiting for.

But after the first two songs, I feel I’m missing some of the unrelenting onslaught that Calvacade had. It’s like listening to Thriller followed by Bad: both albums are masterworks, but the former set the bar incredibly high for the latter to follow.

That being said, don’t give up on the album before you get to “Tail Feathers.” This is new territory for the Flatliners: there is an astounding sense of maturity in the musical arrangement. Their usual riffs are replaced with a simple, beautiful hook melody that is worked seamlessly into the vocal line. I want this song playing while my casket is marched to my funeral pyre, my pallbearers marching in time and chanting the group “whoas.” “Young Professionals” and “Brilliant Resilience” are great closers for the album, ending Dead Language much in the same way as it began.

Devoid of subgenres, the Flatliners are refreshingly straight-ahead punk rock. While every new band incorporates wolves, gold tassels and whatever fuzz pedal is hip nowadays, the Flatliners have stayed true and evolved as themselves rather than falling prey to trends.

By Sean Hamilton

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