As a band, The Fierce And The Dead have never been shy of evolving. From their noisiest post rock origins, they slowly grew into a melodic juggernaut, mixing heavy grooves and progressive textures on their third album ‘The Euphoric’.
There’s growth and re-invention, and then there’s genre-fluid, which is certainly where the band found themselves during the writing and recording of their fourth LP. Fans got a taste of the “new” Fierce/Dead in May 2022 when the ‘Wonderful’ single appeared on Bandcamp and other streaming services. For the first time, the band shared something song-based with a strong vocal, and for many, that was the biggest change. However, things had also taken an unexpected turn musically with a world of post-punk riffs colliding with the prog-ish experimentation.
It was proof that the dramatic new direction would not only work, but it would also have the potential to bring new ears into the fold. That’s even more true of the second single ‘Golden Thread’. Here, a massive stoner groove – like a heavier cousin of ‘Truck’ – leads the way, and guitarist Steve Cleaton wields a weighty tone against Kev Feazey’s monolithic bass. For an instant attention grabber, this sound of TFATD channelling Toundra and Fog giant proves an immediate success, before the arrival of a heavily treated vocal gives the heaviness a layer of other-worldly oddness that further taps into the band’s desire to not be easily pigeonholed. If anything, Kev’s vocals are a much better fit here, and it’s the push and pull between the heavy riff and his arty melodies really makes the track. For those hoping to find a more “traditional” lynchpin, guitarist Matt Stevens links all of the elements with a clean, shimmering tone that’s absolutely unmistakable. Although his more distinctive approach is in danger of taking a backseat against some of the overall heaviness, he’s occasionally able to cut through with a wonderful clarity that brings a very strong link with older tracks like ‘Ark’ and ‘Spooky Action’.
On the negative side, in approaching the other side of six minutes, ‘Golden Thread’ feels maybe a “verse” too long, but with its dominant riff acting as a massive hook – especially for fans of classic stoner rock – that slightly drawn out feel, in time, might even become one of its strengths. Whichever way you look at it, this single is both everything fans are expecting, and also nothing like they could imagine. Let’s hear it for an absolutely unrestrained musical approach…