By William Bateman (WillBateman6611)
There’s only been a moment’s pause for breath since 2014’s Ophir but F.O.E.S are back, creating a consistently brooding, intense and chaotic experience in their 5-track return Antecendence. While not necessarily re-inventing the wheel, F.O.E.S know their genre and play to their strengths in the form of the EP’s heavy, stop-start drums and distorted post-punk guitar. Their is method in the madness; controlled chaos behind the melodic vocals.
Opening track ‘Rival Thrones’ is the epitome of their sound, a statement of intent. James Lorenzo’s drumming commands attention through the shifting time signatures and authoritative rhythms. Occasionally the guitar’s high-tempo power-riffs break through but it isn’t long before dominance is reclaimed once more. They do a good job of maintaining this momentum throughout Crown Antler and This is Kingdom Come.
‘El Penumbra’ is more engaging, shifting gear to a more accessible vocal style from Chris Mackrill and keeping the quality high. While they can occasionally get bogged down in obscure lyrics that are hard to connect with amidst the pandemonium, ‘El Penumbra’ touches on the lead singers recent diagnosis with a medical condition, making lyrics like “my life has been shadowed in the wake of a disease” not only hard-hitting but a refreshing window into the personality of the band.
The frustrating and recurring issue surrounding F.O.E.S is that despite their obvious technical ability and natural talent for hitting you with a high-energy, high-intensity wall of sound, it’s hard to pin down much truly distinct about them. In the age of streaming-wars between Spotify, the newly released Apple Music, and Jay Z’s Tidal, it’s a concern how a band like F.O.E.S will stand out when countless others will be continuously recommended, shoved in the faces of listeners instantly upon turning on their phone or laptop. However maybe this is simply too cynical. F.O.E.S are a tight band with a defined direction. Better yet, Antecendence brims with potential.