My first encounter with Recs Of The Flesh frontman, Massimo Usai, was during the Fall of 2005. Due to a mutual interest in the band Sadus which features bassist extraordinaire, Steve DiGiorgio), we began discussing the state of music, and he soon introduced me to a number of projects he was leading. At the time, Recs Of The Flesh was just a newborn endeavor, but it would soon become the main focus of Max and his group of collaborators. I've tried to keep up with Max's progress, and since the middle of 2006 the band has released two short EPs as well as two full-length albums. I've had the privilege of an (almost) insider perspective through the years, and seen the development of the band as they grew from a man's fever-induced idea into a truly unique musical entity that becomes more defined with each release.
Early on, it was evident that RECS was a rock project, but they were still experimenting with their sound. Their style was characterized by various features of their favorite bands, and you can certainly hear the influences from groups like Prong, Killing Joke, and Sonic Youth, from the crunching guitars and rhythm style, to the sea of noise rock in which the group would immerse the listener. But interestingly enough, they were not only influenced by other bands, but by movie directors and writers. The musical direction of movies by John Carpenter and David Lynch undoubtedly sculpted the atmosphere of the group's work, and W. S. Burrough's "The Soft Machine" has been cited as the catalyst for their creation. Though I wasn't used to the music style at the time, I've grown to like it a lot, and it has led me to check out some of those influences which had previously been unknown to me.
The one constant for this group throughout the years has been Max Usai, who acts as the vocalist, guitarist, and core songwriter. Originally formed as an Italian band, formed from those living in Cagliari on the island of Sardinia, I have witnessed the passing and reconstruction of line-ups since its' early days. Along with the revolving door of musicians featured on each release, at times spanning continents, I have noticed the changes in sound and songwriting. With each, the production has made a drastic improvement and the songwriting has become more focused, which I credit to Usai's perseverance as a producer and his ever-refined vision of what RECS should be.
The Threat Remains And Is Very Real is the sophomore album from RECS and a great release. Joining Usai are bassist Federico Loche, as well as drummer Petr Studihrad, both of whom contribute solid performances. But
one of the most interesting things I find about this band is that, ever since their first full length album, dual guitar playing has been replaced by one guitar coupled with a distorted keyboard. Max's playing is complemented by the haunting keys of Sara Melis, which allows for an atmosphere of not only crunch-filled guitar riffs, but melodies and chords of seemingly infinite sustain. This is apparent in the opening heavy hitter, "Subliminal / Delusional", which features drawn-out chords over a racing rhythm guitar, but is used as a means of continuing the tradition of noise rock in other songs. At this point in their career, they've managed to minimize the meandering tendencies that occurred in earlier releases, and the cacophony of sounds converge on a common theme that results in a trippy, but pleasant, musical ride.
Unlike their first album, Illusory Fields Of Unconsciousness, this album is less a matter of introspection and is more focused on, as the name suggests, an imminent threat. At the end of the first track, an audio snippet comes on that warns about an impending atomic war. Though not every track furthers this point, much of the album is themed at the idea that we are approaching an ends of days scenario, such as the near-title track "The Threat", "Musings Of A Day To Come", and the hopeful closing song, "Peace".
This is not your usual radio-rock album. The Threat Remains... is a hard-hitting crash course into a world of gritty guitars, distorted keyboards, and noise rock tendencies. Even as a fan of this band, it took me some time to fully appreciate the atmosphere that Recs Of The Flesh creates. When they released their first album, Max asked me my opinion of it, and when I finally gave it to him he told me that the song "Not Easily Impressed" was a good indication of me. But due to my proximity of the band, I've developed a very critical attitude towards their music. I loved their first release, and I believe this album is a solid improvement. In terms of songwriting, production, and musical ability, The Threat Remains... a step above the rest.
Currently, The Threat Remains... and Illusory Fields... are available for free download through the band's Bandcamp page, with hard copies available for purchase. Go ahead and download it. Don't be afraid...it'll grow on you.
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