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(37:40, Bad Elephant Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Truck 4:06 2. 1991 4:23 3. The Euphoric 3:57 4. Dancing Robots 3:59 5. Dug Town 4:01 6. Cadet Opal 1:42 7. Verbose 6:07 8. 48k 2:38 9. Part 7 2:25 10. Part 8 4:22 LINEUP: Matt Stevens – guitars, synth, piano Kev Feazey – bass, programming, synth, percussion Steve Cleaton – guitars, piano Stuart Marshall – drums, percussion
Prolusion. UK band THE FIERCE & THE DEAD haven't been around for more than 8 years at this point, and yet they have rather quickly managed to become the darlings of reviewers, the music press and a sizeable, dedicated fan base in just a few of those years. "The Euphoric" is the band's third studio album, and was released through UK label Bad Elephant Music in the spring of 2018.
Analysis. The Fierce & the Dead is an intriguing band in a number of different ways, and among the most intriguing aspects of them is that they have such a broad appeal - or rather that they have an appeal among a broad audience base (I rather suspect they wouldn't mind a few thousand additional fans willing to spend some money on their products). Not that this is all that unheard of in general, but it is not quite the common thing for an instrumental band. Especially one that make music that is fairly challenging. Part of their appeal is that they do incorporate trace elements from a plethora of different genres I guess. They are fond of booming bass guitars and hard guitar riffs of the kind a metal interested audience will feel right at home with. Their use of rhythms and bass with something of a hypnotic feel may well intrigue those with an interest in several types of music of a vastly different kind altogether due to that aspect of the music - like those into techno and similar types of music. There's a raw and rough edge present in parts of the songs that may possibly intrigue those with a taste for punk and hardcore too. And all of this is explored inside a context that is undeniably progressive rock oriented with alterations in pace and intensity, the use of multiple themes, themes, motifs and the songs as such developing from start to finish as well as a liberal use of textured instrument details of the post-rock variety. With occasional inclusions of noise rock elements and drone-like features as the icing on the cake. And for their 2018 studio album, keyboards are present as well. Not in a major and dominant manner, but further expanding the sonic palette used by this quartet. The songs tends to ebb and flow quite a bit on this album, between the gentler and the harder, the slower and the pacier, the sparsely arranged and the richly layered. Sometimes with a gradual development through repeated repetitions of a theme with gradual variations applied, at other times in more of a haphazard manner with a more sparse set of identity creating elements. It is never boring, often hypnotic and frequently engaging. On occasion just bright, shining and brilliant. I do get the feeling that this is an album that may well be more a result of goofing around in the studio and less the end result of careful planning, although that is merely a subjective perception not based on any known facts. Be that as it may be - this is a highly entertaining album, as long as this rather demanding form of music holds a general appeal. This is a CD that may well be a bit shorter than what is the common norm today, but listen to this one with full concentration and chances are good that you'll understand where the challenging part of my description comes from.
Conclusion. The Fierce & the Dead is a band that appears to be able to do everything just right, at least as far as creating music is concerned. They have become darlings of the music press, or at least parts of it, for many reasons, and all of them are at display on this wild, eccentric yet also compelling production. Quirky, instrumental progressive rock with a relatively broad appeal and a multitude of facets is the name of the game here. If you haven't yet checked out this band, this CD strikes me as a very good place to start doing just that.
Progmessor: July 29th 2018
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