For years, it felt like The Fierce And The Dead were a band that few people knew or talked about. Then, at some point prior to the release of their ‘Magnet’ EP in 2015, they started getting semi-regular coverage in Prog Magazine. This helped them to become a cult band in the truest sense, though it still seems odd that they’ve been so embraced by the prog crowd. They’re far beyond the Genesis, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater clones that so much of the Prog audience seem to hold so dear. Their previous releases have had a progressive bent, it’s true, but their artier side has taken in elements of Fugazi and other angular noise-makers that would normally make your average prog fan run for the (Solsbury) hills. There’s a tale that suggests, apparently, at one indoor prog rock event, The Fierce And The Dead managed to half empty a room. For all the talk, some prog fans are anything but progressive in their tastes.
The Fierce And The Dead will release their anticipated third album ‘The Euphoric’ via Bad Elephant Music on May 18th.
The build up to the album release has already been exciting. The band have had their first sold out London headliner, pre-orders for a 2CD deluxe version of the album have almost sold out and the video for the album’s first single – the heavy and immense ‘Truck’ – went viral.
The last couple of years have really seen British art-rock band The Fierce And The Dead gathering momentum. Their ‘Magnet’ EP contained some of their best work to date and also appeared on the Prog stage at the Ramblin’ Man Fair.
Quite understandably, there’s a fair amount of buzz surrounding their upcoming album, ‘The Euphoric’. The album’s launch show at The Black Heart in London (May 18th) is the band’s biggest London headline show to date…and the forthcoming album promises some of their biggest sounds.
A virtuoso of the acoustic guitar, Stuart Masters creates a sound that’s been likened to Nick Drake and Syd Barrett. It seems odd that so many artistes would be compared to Barrett, given that his rather scant post-Floyd output borders on the disturbing. Aside from just about managing to string a few chords together, Barrett could all too often be heard mumbling through nonsensical lyrics he seems to only barely remember. This fourth release from Masters, the wonderful ‘Mystic Blue & The Black Balloon’, is nothing like Syd. It’s sometimes possible to hear why comparisons have been made to Drake, however, for Stuart is very fond of a finger picked style and almost pastoral moods – but the combination of his dexterous playing, loops and layered approach to most things is sometimes closer in spirit to another guitarist…and one from more recent times. It might be fair to say that fans of Matt Stevens will find an instant kinship with Masters and his complex soundscapes.
Post-rock quartet The Fierce And The Dead first captured the attention of listeners the artier end of the rock spectrum with their 2011 full length ‘If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe’. While the intricacy of the album’s music inevitably found the band gaining the “prog” tag, the instrumental wig-outs pulled far more from various alternative rock sources, with elements of noise rock, often making their love of Hüsker Dü/Minutemen et al fairly obvious. The following album, 2013’s ‘Spooky Action’ was potentially even more bonkers, showcasing four very talented musicians working their frenzied guts across a variety of angular rock sounds, with most of the material sharpened by brevity. With no filler, ‘Spooky Action’ is potentially TFATD’s masterwork; in addition to the world of looped guitars and mind bending, gleeful complexities, Kevin Feazey’s bass sound – particularly on ‘I Like It, I’m Into It’ – comes across with a genuine force. It is a record that anyone interested in quirky and thoughtful musicianship should lend an ear.