The Fierce & The Dead – News From The Invisible World: Album Review

A thoroughly wild and wonderful set from the quirky crew at The Fierce & The Dead.

Release Date: 28th July 2023

Label: SPM Records

Format: CD / LP / digital

Five years in the making, the goalposts are on the move somewhat for The Fierce & The Dead. We find their continued evolution in the form of the band’s first release featuring vocals from bassist Kevin Feazey while they’re ever willing (and more than able) to push musical boundaries while still maintaining their distinctive sound. One that throws psychedelia, stoner rock, prog, post-rock, shoegaze, metal and anything else you’re able to spot into the pot.

For vocalist/bassist Feazey: “Adding vocals didn’t seem like a dramatic step, but something that these pieces would benefit from, it felt obvious to us,” while he talks of the time taken to work on the album allowing them to take stock and play with sounds and textures. “The album really digs deep into where we come from musically and sets up the path ahead,” he adds while Matt Stevens references the sort of records that Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips made in the late 90s, but you can hear lots of influences in there: “even the Carcass and Napalm Death records we loved when we were teenagers!

Having had a taster via Wonderful and Photogenic Love (both included on the album and the latter a clever teaser that combines sweet pop with a harder edge – iron fist n a velvet glove sort of thing) we’re stoked to be able to appraise a new TF&TD long player. In a burst of inspiration and creativity, guitarist and ATB supporter Matt Stevens has even been on the socials reporting on progress of the ‘next’ album. He might be pulling our legs, as we, and fans of TF&TD have waited much longer for much less. However, the vibrancy and passion that seeps through News From The Invisible World suggest that the band is back in the groove and getting it on rather nicely.

Any hint that The Start is their ‘easing in’ song is soon dispelled. A track that becomes increasingly manic, possibly a hint of Hitchcock Psycho creeping in; all very low key before a clarity explodes (“colours all around“) with massed voices joining the chant. A skip onto Shake The Jar gives a quick reminder how TF&TD sit comfortably in the bracket with the fizzing type of urgent rock that you’d find with Godsticks, The Pineapple Thief and Amplifier crossed with Hawkwind, made even more apt by the distorted heaviness that introduces Golden Thread. Oft tagged with the ‘progressive’ label, such bands have been quietly subverting the genre while keeping a hold of whatever it is that’s earned them the label.

The simple beat that kicks off NonPlayer might evoke the type of imminent threat of Creep, but it’s more in line with something from the pen of Bruce Soord or Roger Waters – “it’s all so strange being part of a show” half sung, half spoken adding to the stark isolation. There’s even a shift into a laid back section with a parping sax/sax-sounding solo. By contrast, What A Time To Be Alive storms in, built on one of those pounding rhythms that Muse made their own; one instrumental riffs that you can get your teeth into and one that Matt Stevens will have surely had great fun rocking out to in the studio (and will no doubt target for the next tour…). It’s as much Stoner as Muse with some added textures making it a huge head-nodding outlet.

And should we not be sated, NFTIW bows out with a slow tempo, dub-tinged Nostalgia Now that’s far from what it says on the tin. Dare we say the most Gabrielesque piece on the album. Measured, with a less is more quality yet with a punch that adds a hint of darkness. Just as potent, possibly more so, than some of the aggression displayed half an hour previous.

TF&TD remain a thoroughly modern beat combo, with no fixed genre by which to live and die. In love with the future and in love with the past – their own words, mind. Not often you can say that these days.

Here’s a reminder of Wonderful:

The Fierce And The Dead: Official Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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