Total Control, “Flesh War”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.10.14 in Listen to This

There was a severity to the debut album from Aussie stern-rockers Total Control that put them in the same camp as groups like Iceage and Var: nasty nihilists preaching that the end was near, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. That mood continues on “Flesh War,” the fantastically nasty single from the forthcoming Typical System (out June 24 on Iron Lung). The guitars are iron-rod stiff, the rhythm lockstep, the icicle synths chiseled off of Gary Numan’s “Are Friends Electric?” So far, so good. But what’s surprising is what happens about halfway through, when the song opens up into a chorus as warm as vintage OMD, and a bright guitar line appears twitching out of nowhere, casting light across the center of the song and making it feel surprisingly hopeful. The lyrics may still be talking about a coming apocalypse, but Total Control have never sounded happier doing it.