The Ruhr squad open up promisingly with the cool preliminary interlude Paradise, then proceed on to Young Blood, accompanied by Between You & Me, which has to rank as one of the premier alternative bangers of 2022, where every element is a winner, from the ripe vocal performance, to the crunching rhythm, to the explosive, ridiculously infectious chorus, and trust me when I say I’ll be giving you a dirty look if you somehow don’t find yourself buzzed by this.
The similarly rad Bloodshot Eyes comes forth with a bit of a darker tone and the words capture that feeling of just being simply done, tired and brought down by it all and looking for that desperate liberation. We get a quick pause with Endings and its nice ambient vibe, before they abruptly launch into the great Drowning Underwater, a triad effort alongside We Were Sharks and Breathe Atlantis which is sonically energetic and lyrically stifling, embodying pure hopelessness and being on the brink of personal defeat, and god damn, the screams in the latter half are chillingly strong.
Over You is an effective platform for self-realisation, and the importance of detaching from a past which caused emotional, mental damage, and Beth from As December Falls (a band I’m very much fond of) steps in to join Stefan for dual harmonic duties, and the pair are as raw and inspiring as they come. Out Of Love is considerably more upbeat in comparison to the previous numbers and it’s just straight up electric, so expect to find yourself juiced up by this one.
Cotton Candy Clouds continues the dynamic trend, with Stefan, through more impressive singing, letting loose a tonne of baggage and becoming focused on the positive possibilities that have come to light thanks to a healthy new mindset, while the breezily melodic Criminals is about taking a mature stand of accountability and honestly acknowledging the mistakes once made.
Saviour presents gentle, thoughtful verses intermixed with zealous, catchy choruses, another pleasant break comes in the form of Beginnings, then we return with the real nice and roseate Heartclash, about opening yourself up to the one you love, and afterwards is No Use, a fittingly hearty send-off to cap off such an emotionally fuelled record.
Endings = Beginnings, the sixth album from the alt-rock champions, is sensationally awesome, to put it quite lightly. The songs are many, but at no point boring or redundant, thanks to such dedicated, pure performances from the guys and their guests, a vibrant sound that’s easy to get swept up in, and authentic writing that refuses to beat around the bush, striving to be as truthful and legitimate as possible; the latter especially, because in this day and age where people try too hard to be something they are not, a lot of respect comes with being unafraid of sincerity.
Flash Forward have surely right now got to be the hottest act in Germany; hell, probably among the hottest across the entirety of mainland Europe as of now; and their next stop I imagine will be to conquer the world. 2023 will definitely be a banner year, and with mainstream breakthrough right there on the cusp, don’t be shocked to see the quartet emerge as an esteemed global entity very soon.