(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the forthcoming album by Sweden’s Feared, and we’re also stoked to bring you the premiere of a new Feared song: “Your God”.)
A lot of us music fans, especially metal fans, and even more especially music fans who are musicians, have a good idea (or know very well) what goes into writing an album. It’s something that takes time, commitment, and if you care about your music, a great deal of deliberation over what you’re crafting in order to make it the best and most compelling it can be. But creating music has never really been a process that you can just schedule, put in the time, and expect it to come out fine. Some bands have managed to prove that idea wrong, like The Black Dahlia Murder, who’ve released albums on a reliable schedule and haven’t taken a quality dip. Other bands haven’t fared so well.
Usually, we tend to think of the creation process for an album-length work as a long-term endeavor. As fans, we may bitch about how much time it takes for a band to write and record their next album, but we also tend to become leery when a band releases a new album soon after the one that preceded it. So it’s a surprise that Feared, after releasing a monster of an album earlier this year in Furor Incarnatus, announced they’d be releasing another album this year.
It’s rather crazy that the new album was written, recorded, and mastered within the time span of a few months. However, instead of being sub-par, Vinter appears to have been born from a spark of inspiration. It is different from Furor and it brings the Feared sound into more of a death-metal and less of a groove-metal territory. Comparing it to Furor and saying whether it is better or not is honestly a rather petty exercise, because it isn’t meant to be a follow-up. This is more like Feared, again, reassessing where they want to go musically. As a result, it’s different, but nonetheless extremely fucking killer.
Feared’s core of Ola Englund and Marios Ramos are still present, but now with drummer Kevin Talley apparently a permanent member and bassist Jocke Skog (ex-Clawfinger and mixer of this album) joining the fold, it appears that things are ramping up for Feared to go into full-time band mode. As a consequence, the new music needed to be balls to the wall, as proof that Feared isn’t even one inch close to stagnating (keep in mind the band had released albums before Furor, but they appear only now to be getting recognition because of Furor), and it accomplishes this mission quite well.
I will say this: Vinter is the heaviest material Feared have produced. While there was definitely more of a focus on hitting a death metal note on this record, there are also tinges of thrash and industrial, and even a couple of moments that feel a bit like deathgrind. Vinter is essentially a meat-grinding battle tank.
The entrails-twisting doom trudge of the album’s intro “Sun Awake” leads well into the opening song, “Needle Effect”, a blistering ballistic assault of thrash metal speed and black metal wall-of-noise aesthetics. It culminates wonderfully in a satisfying old-school hardcore breakdown that should get pits to turn themselves into bloodbaths.
Then “Your God” comes crashing through like a Shaolin monk’s fist (what the fuck is with me and this particular descriptor?), leaving a hole through your torso, delivering death metal bravado and imperialism in classic European fashion. It’s a stampeding number, full of pulverizing, rapid-fire riffing and gargantuan, mammoth-force chunk.
“Hate Is Everything” is a little closer to the Feared people know, although only slightly. It’s a groove-driven jackhammer, but it channels more of a bouncy Scar Symmetry kind of vibe than the band’s Pantera-driven roots. It’s a rather raunchy song, in keeping with the very snake-like character of the riffs. “Mass Destruction” is a song that has the sonic resemblance of a demonic mace the size of a car. With a devastating groove-centric assault that definitely calls to mind Nevermore’s heaviest moments, it’s an enjoyable neck-breaker.
“Erased” is a song we’ve posted about before, the first single off the album and the most traditionally Feared song on it. It’s a titanic, crawling groove-machine, full of chunky riff haymakers, industrial lock-step, and an instantly recognizable and neat main melody. Then comes “Huldra”, the most violent and the fastest song on the album, a scathing melodic death metal brutalizer that culminates in a breakdown that has an impact which feels like getting your heart torn out. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are reports of people murdering massive crowds to this song.
The next two songs, “Invidia” and “Mylingen”, are more compact beat-downs. “Invidia” has an interesting focus on a mid-paced hardcore attack, full of scrappy riffing and with a grandiose chorus that sounds like the opening of an abyss. “Mylingen” is an oddly short song, under three minutes, but that doesn’t prevent it from delivering the goods. This is one of the more death metal tracks on the album for sure, although what I particularly enjoy is the rather junkyard style of its verse riff.
The last two tracks, “My Shadow World” and “Vinter”, are really parts of a single song; “Vinter” is merely the album’s outro. The song is a definitive departure from Feared standard procedure, with the band turning to a blackened death-doom aesthetic that works well. It has an odd counterbalance of despair, but also a little bit of hope. The best part of the song, though, is its “Vinter” finish, with a captivatingly introspective clean section, soon exploding intro the epic instrumental bombast with which you’d expect a Feared record to close.
This album really wouldn’t be what it is without the band’s core of Ola and Marios. While I shouldn’t need to comment on Ola’s guitar mastery, Marios deserves accolades for his vocals. The man’s got a unique voice right now, one that’s only even remotely channeled by The Burning’s Johnny Haven. Kevin Talley doesn’t need to be complimented either, and Jocke provides tasteful bass additions to the Feared sound while rocking an immensely meaty, steely tone.
Feared have officially released two years’ worth of highlights in the same year. What other band can claim to do that shit? No one else to my knowledge. Grab Vinter. It’s a powerful, visceral testament to the Feared name and an essential must-have of the year, like the release before it.
Vinter will be officially released on November 25 and can be pre-ordered here. It will also be available on iTunes and Amazon. Feared can be found on Facebook via this link. Below you can hear the first two songs from the album that have premiered up to today — followed by our own premiere of “Your God”.