If you haven't heard of the Belton, Texas, alternative metal band Flyleaf at least once in the past three years, then you've definitely been living under a rock. No, make that a bomb shelter. Leaping onto the already crowded metal scene in 2004 with their self-titled EP, Flyleaf barraged listeners with a heavy set of deeply personal tracks, one after another poised for radio domination. Lacey Mosley, the quintet's front lady, came with her own delicate scars and testimony that resonated with youthful listeners not only here in the states, but in Australia as well, when the band did a brief tour "down under" in promotion of the EP.
One year later, in '05, Flyleaf debuted their phenomenal first release, a hit with both critics and buyers. Since that initial drop, the band's label has re-released Flyleaf twice: once with slightly different mixes for "Fully Alive" and "All Around Me," and again with the above changes and five acoustic presentations of the debut's most popular songs. With '08 seeing the album certified Platinum, it's a wonder Flyleaf's label haven't pushed for a quickly released sophomore effort. Thankfully, the band seems content to wait until the time is right, slowly compiling a series of road-tested tracks and releasing an EP to wet the lips of fans thirsting for more.
Much Like Falling was released October 30, 2007, as an iTunes exclusive download. Big things often come in small packages, and despite a running time of only 11 minutes, this inexpensive download packs a wallop. Opening up with its title track, the bass line in the first 30 seconds displays this fledgling band at their current peak of creativity, not content with embracing an exact replica of what made their debut so sought-after. Metal places an emphasis on bass, and it was an area previously in which Flyleaf failed to meet the challenge-all the bass lines were simplistic, and rarely noticeable. Thankfully, the change has given way to growth in that department. The remainder of the track sports two brilliant hooks, an epic climax, and an abrupt halt that begs for several repeats. Coming in at just over two minutes, one might say that this time around they had me at "Hello."
"Supernatural" is an acoustic presentation of a concert favorite, a muse on grace and faith in the face of questioning God's plan. Perhaps the most spiritually grounded of all their songs to date, it's also the longest on this Extended Play. Penultimately comes "Tina," my admitted favorite of all the songs in Flyleaf's current repertoire. Taken from the life story of a young woman Mosley met while on tour, "Tina" recounts an attempted suicide by gasoline dousing, and the spiritual repercussions of that decision. Not only is the hook here, but it's also a rare instance when the band seems to have hit a musical wall. They can't get any heavier, grungier, or edgier without completely shaking up the genre within which they've comfortably fit up until this point. It's a nice dilemma, honestly, because I'm almost positive that other fans will pick up on it, giving Mosley and crew the go-ahead to experiment even further in the future.
Album closer "Justice and Mercy" is the weak point of the album. Sure, it has Mosley's fantastic screaming voice alternating in and out of a brisk chorus, but it feels entirely anticlimactic just coming off of "Tina." It's a nice reflection on grace and the law, but again, it's my least favorite on the EP.
All in all, Flyleaf have proven that the wait for their sophomore release will be well worth it-as they tour in Europe with Korn, testing newly-written songs and growing their fan base, planning a domination of both Christian and secular music outlets all the while.- Review date: 3/12/08, written by John Wofford
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