It’s heavier and more psychedelic, bit more spacey, more synths, more downtuned guitars. Some of the riffs are a bit more straightforward and it’s got one tune on it that is the most complex rhythmically that we’ve done…(Matt Stevens)

I first became aware of The Fierce And The Dead when I saw them perform live, opening for Evil Blizzard last year.That performance placed the first piece in an invisible ‘puzzle’ which I then started to complete by going back and listening to their very first album entitled ‘If It Carries On Like That I am Moving to Morecambe‘ (what a title!).

The fact that ‘getting to know’ this band was indeed a puzzle, was confirmed when I saw that the second track of this very first, self-released album, is entitled ‘Part 2‘, which took me searching for the all-important ‘Part 1’ in the band’s very first self-released EP which was, alas, entitled ‘Part 1‘. Then I realized that the second album of the band entitled ‘Spooky Action‘ contained ‘Part 4‘ and ‘Part 5‘ which meant that ‘Part 3‘ was again ‘hidden’ in the EP entitled ‘On VHS‘. An invisible trail started to form in this manner, which made the otherwise interesting task of discovering a band’s sound, an exciting puzzle-solving task. It is both inventive and witty to guide an audience through all the releases in order to complete the ‘picture’ and to be honest, I don’t think there is a better way to do this than what T.F.A.T.D have done.
The next piece of the ‘puzzle’ was the realization that this nice sense of humour that the band revealed on stage, also materializes the covers of their albums. All the album titles are somewhat cryptic but especially the very first album’s title, creates more questions than it answers…

Making the decision to write instrumental music as a band and not as a solo musician, is a difficult choice and is even more difficult to support. And yet, since 2011, The Fierce and The Dead have been proving that, when the music alone narrates stories better than the lyrics would attempt to, then…hell yeah, it is the right choice to write instrumental albums.
After deciding not to ‘move to Morecambe’…I think… The Fierce and The Dead have embarked on a journey that has travelled them through psychedelic, krautrock, ‘psychotropic’ and ‘heavy’, even discreetly metal, soundscapes. The debut album navigated between light dreamy soundscapes and heavier, but trippy, psychedelic ones, before making a brief stop at a noisy, almost trance, sonic field (e.g. ‘Lanbcrab‘). That stop there, might have seemed ‘out of place’ in the context of the album but it actually turned out to be a ‘teaser’ of things to come, as the band has further evolved and explored the multiple dimensions that this brief track ‘opened’. There was also a saxophone and piano included in that first album of ‘highs’ and ‘lows’. Each track started with a numbing, ‘spacey’ yet disquiet rhythm which suddenly became much heavier towards the end. It seems now, that these transitions have become the ‘signature’ of The Fierce And The Dead.
In ‘Spooky Action’ the atmosphere became almost psychotropic, the character of the guitar riffs was much different, bringing to mind the guitar riffs in metal bands. Drums came to the foreground and increased the ‘pulse’ of each track and the sound was much heavier and darker in aesthetics with added elements of krautrock music. If the debut album let us ‘calmly’ explore different spiritual dimensions, ‘Spooky Action’ layered all of those and put us in a maze…In that second album, there were more instruments as well, there was cello, courtesy of Sara Gill (now part of MADAM.), synth, saxophone and trumpet.

‘The Euphoric’…an album where analog and digital worlds achieve a remarkable osmosis

Five years have passed since ‘Spooky Action’ and it is now time to enjoy the third studio album of the band and with it, the originality in the way the band approaches music, as it has been revealed through the videos that accompany it. There is something funnily worrying when the new album of a band called The Fierce And The Dead is entitled ‘The Euphoric ‘ or let me say it differently…the moment when a band with heavy sound decides to give some form to the word ‘euphoric’, is the moment when you are about to be ‘hit’ by something with a ‘grounding’ yet numbing ‘agent’. However, it is not with irony, that this title has been selected and this becomes spectacularly evident after watching the amazing videos that accompany this album.In ‘1991‘, you will see a robot on skates, leisurely and choreographically traversing a cityscape while in ‘Truck‘ the band humours the otherwise mundane task of loading musical equipment on a vehicle, by daring to place this in a neon-lit, futuristic environment within an impossible scenario in which the vehicle passes through Djoser’s pyramid!I honestly don’t remember enjoying a video clip as much as I did while listening to this album!The band, together with Mark Duffy who has ingeniously created these videos, has not left itself untouched by the spirit of gamification and futurism that run through these videos.Instead, T.F.A.T.D have edited and incorporated live footage within those videos in a creative and seamless way that enhances the plot of the video and presents live footage in a truly original way! I have to admit that these tall, bent, otherwise unidentified, grounded tubes that appear throughout ‘1991’, reminded me of ‘Pink Floyd’s video of ‘The Machine’ and whether that was a source of inspiration for the band or not, I found the idea of designing something like that to be brilliant!At the end of this video, our friend the skating robot is part of the band’s most dedicated audience…a remarkable scenario indeed even if it lasts only for a few moments before our friend goes away in the mothership that landed him in the futuristic cityscape…

As before, the duration of this album is ideal for its style. The cover, courtesy of Mark Buckingham (who also designed the cover of ‘Spooky Action’) is both humorous and futuristic, as it worships the guitar to the level of a deity and made me wish there was one more video clip where I would get to see what happens next…perhaps our skating robot would like to have a go at it… If you have seen the band perform live you will know by now that their psychedelia is more like the occasional ‘trip’ of a giant on a day he has no plans. The sound on this album further develops that of ‘Spooky Action’ krautrock elements are further evolved. The album gets straight to the point with ‘Truck‘, whose ‘heavy’ sound ‘nods’ to rock and somehow symbolically works as an introduction, by creating the image of a big wheel of a big truck that is slowly spinning… The assertiveness of the rhythms creates a kind of ‘hazy’, misty field in which gradually, the light fades out. You can feel this ‘dimming’ of the light as the album gradually and seamlessly becomes darker through the dysphoric melodies of ‘The Euphoric‘ (the irony) which are then picked up by the long, heavy notes of ‘Dancing Robots‘ (how else, would robots dance?) and are emotionally ‘released’ through the more ‘calming’ in aesthetics and high tone, synth and guitar melodies of ‘Dug Town‘ and ‘Cadet Opal‘.

As the album progresses it becomes evident that the band has created more space for melody this time but this whole decision has a ‘catch’. As ‘light’ as the melody may feel, so much more ‘brutal’ and heavier its ‘collapse’ will be towards the second half of the tracks. ‘Verbose‘ and ‘48k‘ somehow refer to the emotions that were created at the beginning of this album and thus close the chapter that is this album…you would think…By watching the video of ‘48k‘ a new dimension opens up as this track is referring to Dubna 48K which was a Soviet clone of the ZX Spectrum home computer that was released in 1991 (perhaps the track ‘1991’ also refers to this). The video clip that starts with the destruction of ZX Spectrum, combines extracts from various retro computer games such as ‘Space Invaders’ one of the earliest computer shooting games that was launched in 1978, ‘Chuckie Egg‘ and ‘Asteroids‘.This is a band that loves heavy music and has probably enjoyed the analog environments of the first computer games so much that they decided to bring back some of their glory. Even though I am a fan of post apocalyptic fantasy games myself, I admit that I had not researched further the past of these games so…time to try my luck with ‘Chuckie Egg’ then…


The Fierce And The Dead know better and do better as one would expect, by adding the next piece of what is their puzzle to the end of this album and they do so perfectly with the majestic track entitled ‘Parts 7 and 8‘.
The reason I really love this band is that somehow they give more meaning, different meaning to their music, they create mental images and they play with the concept that is ‘heavy’ sound, with great skill!
I cannot ‘shake’ the first impression that this album created on me.The alteration of rhythms and the ‘weight’ of the melodies, immediately created the mental image of a half machine half ‘monster’ that wanders around a field while no one else is around, trying to think what to do next.The videos completely altered this mental image by giving to it a funny, playful and really creative twist.

The next chapter and the next piece of the puzzle will be revealed at the next album of the band and we can’t wait for it even though we really haven’t had enough of ‘The Euphoric’. In the meantime, The Fierce and The Dead will be on a UK tour whose stop in London would be on November 10th 2018 at The Lexington.You can grab your tickets from here and you can get a copy of ‘The Euphoric’ from here.

Blaue Rosen box

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