Flood – “Ripped Into Exile”


Flood is carrying on the legacy of Tourniquet since the unfortunate passing of founding member Ted Kirkpatrick. Flood, formed in the 2020s, started with three of the founding members of Tourniquet: vocalist Guy Ritter, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Gary Lenaire and lead guitarist Erik Mendez. To round out the rhythm section they recruited the mighty David Husvik (Extol, Azusa) on drums and YouTube bassist sensation Anna Sentina. They released a stellar debut album “Polarized” in early 2022 that carried an authentic yet polished early-years Tourniquet sound.

The personnel is largely the same with João Miguel (Enblood, Solo, Nephilim) replacing Erik on lead guitar. There were no leading singles and only a sudden drop of the entire album on March 27. I was thinking leading up to release in how difficult this new album has in following “Polarized.” Even if it was a good album, could it shine next to it? We shall see.

The opening song “Ripped Into Exile” opens with a bang and showcases all that they do really well: neoclassical arpeggios in the beginning, lightning quick tempos, brilliantly pinpoint drum fills, and melodic vocals. The only thing missing was some solo bass from Anna, but the bass work is solid. Lyrics are unapologetically Christian and scriptural, illustrating how in Christ we find our way back to paradise. “Autopsied Atheism” keeps that interest high with a rather unique narrative from a medical examiner looking at the death of Atheism. The vocals show off both Guy’s Mustaine-esque timbre and Gary’s barking vocals. Although at the heart is a standard song structure, the transitions and various sections keep it sounding fresh.

“Burial” breaks up the pace a bit by stitching together some cool grooving metal in the verses with a Pink Floyd-inspired chorus that floats in space. To make it more varied, there is a thrashy instrumental break in the middle to show off some nice soloing efforts. “Dreamt” starts off with a slower plodding pace that picks up pace only to land in space again for the chorus. At this point I am detecting more ambient textures used in the songs, which feels weird next to the high energy style they are known for.

Then comes “Darwin’s Missing Chimp.” This song is solid gold! The band gets back to what they do well with some frantic neoclassical display at the beginning with guitar and bass keeping right in step. The thrashy riffs are great headbanging material and I enjoy Gary’s vocal delivery. The chorus lyrics “There’s no monkeys in the tree” is slightly cheesy but oh so catchy and fun. Even my two year-old quotes it. If the intro isn’t enough to show Anna’s bass work, the instrumental break shows João and Anna going head to head in a fun and frantic ride. David’s drumming keeps them in line, but it is Ted Kirkpatrick-inspired drum fill with cow bell accents leading into the last verse that seals the deal.

Having gone halfway, a couple of themes start to materialize. Solos hit the mark every time and lead work is very supportive of the overall musical vision. I see how much value David’s drum work brings to the songs beyond his inhuman ability to lay down lightning quick patterns. His work in the ambient sections ground the listener to where they are going by providing features amid these amorphous sections.

The second half of the album is pretty good, but not as strong as the first half with more spacey/ambient episodes breaking up the pace. “Others” has a catchy melody for the verse and great supportive lead guitar work in the chorus, pulling out the harmonies rather than just laying power chords. There is a space rock-inspired break in the middle, but generally drives forward nicely. “Can’t Undo” is more atmospheric and utilizes this weird falsetto vocal soup that I find slightly off-putting but plays as sonic imagery from the lyrics. “Punk This” is a high energy track that has a strong Tourniquet vibe.

“In an Ancient Time” to me is the least enjoyable track. I like the lyrical material on this one (as well as the other songs), but the song gets lost in the atmosphere and doesn’t really build up to an appreciable climax. It’s not terrible in that the drums keep things from being boring. The closing track “Zero Hour” is a great blast of energy to finish off the album, leaving the hard hitting riffs and thrash vocals as the last sounds in my ears.

I feel like I’m sounding harsh, but to be honest, I love the album top to bottom, warts and all. I have a preference for “Polarized,” but that is a hard act to follow. Would I have preferred to have an instrumental and more bass noodling? Yeah, but what is here instead is interesting in a different way. Who knows, maybe the ambient space episodes will grow on me, and I definitely can’t fault them with experimenting. It keeps it fresh. However, when they get going on the thrash train, it is absolutely awesome. If you love Tourniquet or Flood’s debut, this is a mandatory acquisition!

Rating: 9.0/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Ripped Into Exile
2 – Autopsied Atheism
3 – Burial
4 – Dreamt
5 – Darwin’s Missing Chimp
6 – Others
7 – Can’t Undo
8 – Punk This
9 – In An Ancient Time
10 – Zero Hour

Flood is:
Guy Ritter – vocals
Gary Lenaire – guitar and vocals
João Miguel – lead guitars
David Husvik – drums
Anna Sentina – bass

Guest: Robert “Bubby” Lewis – bass on “Burial”

Release Date: March 27, 2024

Record Label: Acidify Records

Polarized (2022) [review]
Ripped Into Exile (2024)

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Video (Audio) for Ripped Into Exile

Video (Audio) for Darwin’s Missing Chimp

Video (Audio) for Autopsied Atheism

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