Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

High-Functioning Flesh: The Industrial Duo You Didn’t Know You Needed

Darkness meets drum machine with Los Angeles electro-punk duo High-Functioning Flesh.

With a sound somewhere between DEVO, Molchat Doma and Portion Control, High-Functioning Flesh is an industrial hall essential.

Much like the word “flesh,” the band’s music is carnal, tactile and vivid.

And as per usual, I found them entirely by accident.

Expanses of “The Flesh”

Often abbreviated to HFF, the band emerged in Los Angeles after Susan Subtract and Gregory Vand attended a Youth Code show.

The band’s debut album, “A Unity of Miseries – A Misery of Unities” came out on DKA Records in 2014. The album struck a chord in the industry with its evocative style inspired by sci-fi, body horror and archetypal punk angst

According to the band, their work “seeks to revive us all from our spectacle-induced coma,” presenting a sobering sound to rend the veil of capitalist monotony.

Cover for “A Unity of Miseries – A Misery of Unities” by High-Functioning Flesh

HFF cites Cabaret Voltaire and Portion Control as major stylistic influences, though the duo certainly brings their own qualities to the craft through elaborate instrumentation and production effects.

“A Unity of Miseries – A Misery of Unities” is a dynamic album, highly tactile and hypnotically raucous through its sprawls of synth, drum and fried vocals. Its industrial quality is heavy-handed and walloping like metal slamming against metal.

HFF’s sophomore album, “Definite Structures,” came out in May 2016 through Dais Records. The album reflects the progression of the band’s electro-industrial style, leaning into further experimentation with sound layering and auditory effects. The album is a kaleidoscope, evoking the brutalist edge of Skinny Puppy.

Cover for “Definite Structures” by High-Functioning Flesh

Following this release, the band dropped the single “Human Remains” through the same label. The single features two tracks, “Human Remains” and “Heightened State.”

For this release, the band turned to mellower vocals with less distortion, leaning back into the style explored with their first album.

HFF’s most recent release, “Culture Cut,” came out in 2017. A blind comparison of “Culture Cut” against “Human Remains” would almost suggest the existence of two bands.

Cover for “Culture Cut” by High-Functioning Flesh

“Culture Cut” clearly draws more from the same inspirations as “Definite Structures.”

According to Dais Records, each new release highlights the band’s evoltion “from a handful of lo-fi flashback demos to aggressively realized synth-punk dance floor anthems.”

And Dais Records is wholly correct. The music of High-Functioning Flesh belongs on the dancefloor for leather and PVC-clad youths to gyrate to.

Song Highlights

By J

J is a DJ at WKNC and a staunch enjoyer of dark and moody music.