The Fierce and The Dead – Spooky Action

Spooky Action

(Bad Elephant)

WooooOOOOOoooOOoooo. It’s Hallowe’en and things are about to get even spookier here at Demon Pigeon. Be afraid, reader, for I bring you a tale of an album so frighteningly good that those of a nervous disposition would be wise to heed my warning and turn back now. Go look at some pictures of rudely-shaped pumpkins or something.

The Fierce and the Dead have risen again with their second full-length album. Loop guru, ‘Morbid’ Matt Stevens and his band of sinister henchmen have conjured up another slab of proggy, mathy instrumental rock that goes straight for the jugular. The opener, Part 4, with its twin-guitar arpeggios and headbang-worthy riff is what would’ve happened if Philip Glass had ripped up his Fulbright scholarship at the kitchen table and said “Screw you Mom, I’m gonna start a garage band”.

Lead-off single, Ark, is a Frankenstein’s monster of carefully stitched together sonic tapestry and bursts of extreme violence. That’s the signature of this band—lovely, almost pastoral vistas are opened up but you know the hockey-masked spree killer is never far away from turning the boy scout picnic into a bloodbath. Discordance and clever use of phasing time signatures add tension to the core melodies.

The accurately titled I Like It, I’m Into It showcases the bottom end of bassist Kevin ‘Fearsome’ Feazey which will terrify and delight in equal measure. Entropy sees him do his best Blacky impression with a circulating bassline that lays the foundation for some Voïvod homage complete with ‘piggy chords’ from Stevens and ‘Sinister’ Steve Cleaton. (I’m adhering to this Hallowe’en theme no matter how tenuous it may get).

Chief showcases the tight fills of drummer ‘Scary’ Stuart Marshall (shut up) with a swaying Latin jazz vibe before Hades itself opens its gaping maw and we get a glimpse of what the audition would have sounded like had Robert Fripp decided to try out for Sonic Youth.

It’s rare that an instrumental album is so full of melodic hooks, never taking its eye off the goal of entertaining the listener, even rarer for one to do so in juxtaposition with noise and academic compositional theory: advanced harmonic sense and polyrhythms. There’s nothing remotely scary about that though, you’ll be nodding along the whole way through with a lunatic grin on your face. Howling at the moon is optional.

Spooky Action is out November 4th 2013.


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