The roots of the 4-piece band Badflower go back a couple years shy of a decade ago. A stretch of time where we have seen a dramatic shift in culture, they have grown into one of the more unique acts on the Rock scene. First attracting broader attention in 2018 with their single “Ghost,” it soon became evident they had something more to offer a sometimes stale, generic Alternative Rock world. Coupling the raw energy of ’90s Rock sounds with sincere, less than ordinary lyrical content, their success only grew as they latched onto big tours with the likes of Shinedown and skyrocketed up US charts in early 2019 with their debut album OK, I’m Sick. Keeping the momentum moving forward with the irresistible single “30” in 2020, Badflower now look to engage listeners with their second album, This Is How The World Ends.
A 13-song collection released on September 24, 2021 via Big Machine/John Varvatos Records, the title of the record is quite fitting, because well, it sure does feels like the end of the world is near. On a less morbid note, Badflower take such a dark subject matter down a sarcastic path, that is sometimes amusing, but almost always compelling. You see Leading Voice/Lyricist/Rhythm Guitarist Josh Katz is quite candid about his own self-doubt and inequalities.
Some might say, great another Emo band, nothing new to hear. Well hold on a minute, because Katz lyrical approach is not whiney nor contrived. In a time where we are overloaded with opinions, emotions, and straight out devisee content thanks to the internet, and more particularly social media, somehow Katz manages to strike a nerve. Perhaps it is because his words are something we can all relate to in some way or another, because deep down, we are all insecure. Yes, it is true, we all doubt ourselves, but some of us are better at putting up a façade by deflecting our feelings onto others or finding something else to blame. Katz does none of this, instead he faces his thoughts, and we are invited inside his mind as he sorts everything out.
A prime example of such unfiltered thought is heard throughout the album – whether it be songs like “Family,” “She Knows,” “Don’t Hate Me.” Each thoughtful and tragic tunes, these intense moments are offset by more tongue-in-cheek ones as heard on “Fukboi,” “Stalker,” or “Sasshole.”
However, some of the boldest, unapologetic feelings of the entire album are heard on “Everyone’s An Asshole,” “Machine Gun,” and “My Funeral.” And with that said, the aforementioned trio of tracks could be some of the best Alternative Rock we have heard in a long time. First “Everyone’s An Asshole” takes the self-righteous, unforgiven attitude of modern society head on and crushes it with a clever, witty, honest assessment. Then there is “Machine Gun,” a powerfully intelligent statement about the world and the hypocrisy that surrounds us all. Truthfully, it will spark something even in the most apathetic of souls. Which leads us to the finale, “My Funeral,” where we are given a light-hearted rhythm, heavy context, and a killer pay off at the backend that will make us all rethink things.
All in all, Badflower deliver an album that needs to be heard. Yes, Katz lyrics are pretty darn good, but let us not forget the overall collective sound of Lead Guitarist Joey Morrow, Bassist Alex Espiritu, and Drummer Anthony Sonetti. Together they create something musically that is not over-produced, not loud for the sake of being loud, and extremely well-composed. So, if you are looking to find some inspiration in world that is certainly lacking it, do not overlook this album, it might just be the cathartic release you are looking for. That is why Cryptic Rock gives This Is How The World Ends 5 out of 5 stars.