Fucked Up - Year Of The Snake
Released by: Tankcrimes Records
Released on: March 24th, 2017.
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Toronto's own Fucked Up have released, with Year Of The Snake, the latest entry in their 'zodiac series,' this time with an emphasis on hallucinogens. The title track clocks in at just a few seconds shy of the twenty-four minute mark and it's an epic journey through psychedelic hardcore that starts off with some strange, ambient noises. The guitars poke through slowly at first, swirling psychedelic noises and layers of feedback poking you in your brain. Things intensify slowly but surely and very deliberately, and by the time that the drums kick in we're off and running. This track seems more concerned with creating mood and ambience than kicking your ass, but Damian Abraham's vocals don't seem to realize that. As such, we get this weird contrast of swirling, psychedelic guitar work, rhythmic and entranced drumming and pissed off, guttural vocals. The repetition of the guitar work is almost mind numbing, but there are moments where the playing gets spacey. It's almost like the band overdosed on some early Hawkwind records and then decided to lay their own punk inspired aggression over top of the space jams. But spacey is definitely the best way to describe this latest offering, and you've got to love and appreciate just how unpredictable this group remains. The playing is as solid as it is acid-tinged, getting deliberately artsy and outre at times, going almost silent at the ten minute mark, then tripping out yet again for a bit before building back up to the intense crescendo that peaked before the break - but not before they throw in what sure sounds an awful lot like some flute playing. It couldn't have been easy to merge everything that Fucked Up merges into this track while still making it fun and interesting to listen to, but they pulled it off.
The second track on the single is Passacaglia, a six minute track that starts off with some calm, controlled new-age style keyboard work but a few seconds later the guitar takes over, burying everything else in the mix deliberately and rightly so. Right away the Pink Floyd influence is apparent; you can hear David Gilmour's style in the guitar playing immediately. This instrumental track ebbs and flows a bit, working some odd sounds into the mix in equal measure, using some reverb and some effects pedals to build tone, while the drums seem to intensify as it all progresses. Weird, trippy, proggy stuff - it's a nice accompaniment to the title track and it fits in the same strange, spacey place as that first song.
Nobody out there sounds like Fucked Up right now, they're one of the more interesting and unique sounds to emerge from the recent punk/hardcore scene in a long time. This latest release continues the band's journey into weirder and stranger territory. Let's hope they keep it up - this is essentially 'art rock' but done without the pretension or nonsense typically associated with it. Great stuff. Wholly unique and endlessly listenable.