Fever 333

Strength In Numb333rs

Written by: AP on 29/12/2019 16:49:54

It was already clear from his involvement in the now defunct and sorely missed letlive., that Jason Aalon Butler is not your typical post-hardcore vocalist. His former outfit incorporated lots of unusual elements like R&B and soul into their sound, but with this new project Fever 333, he takes his eclecticism and penchant for experimentation to the next level, and likely causes some fans of rock and metal to have an aneurism in the process. Having joined forces with ex-The Chariot guitarist Stephen Harrison and Night Verses drummer Aric Improta, his latest bid at innovating on heavy music comes entitled “Strength in Numb333rs”, and true to his philosophy, it offers sociopolitical lyricism en masse, as Butler navigates his youth spent torn between middle class privilege and poverty, rock music and hip-hop.

Butler still has grounds to make before he can be considered a lyricist on par with the hip hop and rap icons of his home region of metropolitan Los Angeles, but if you can look past his prosaic, and at times cringeworthy rhymes and focus on the message instead, you will find that “Strength in Numb333rs” is in fact an extremely catchy and thought-provoking piece of music. But thinking forward often comes at the expense of fomenting division, and Fever 333’s mash-ups are no different, one suspects. Indeed, while the band mostly succeeds in the balancing act of bringing together two divergent genres, fans of letlive. and and older Night Verses will probably find their favourites on the record among tracks like “Animal” and “Prey for Me” that utilise the energy of post-hardcore in their verses and unleash booming sing-alongs in their choruses; while those of a more chart musical disposition will likely incline toward songs such as “Inglewood” and “Coup d’Étalk”, with their marriages of aggressive rapping and syrupy R&B. If, however, you have no preference in terms of those two avenues, you will be delighted to find that Butler & co. are actually pretty deft at navigating both of them, resulting in a handful of songs with both lasting value and enough explosiveness to supply moshpits with plenty of fuel.

Still, you may have noticed my usage of the word handful, and indeed herein lies the main issue with “Strength in Numb333rs”; the standard is very uneven when inspecting the album from an overview perspective. Virtually all of the memorabilia is loaded into the first half, which elicits the feeling that Fever 333 might just have struck gold with their hybrid approach. You feel energised, empowered even, by the steamrolling instrumentation and the conviction with which Butler rails against injustice. But the urge to raise one’s fist and shout “F**k yeah!” slowly dissipates as the forgettable drivel that plagues most of the second half begins with “The Innocent”, and then vanishes completely when the band gives balladry a go in the dreadful “Am I Here?”. The only reason to hang tight and endure the dross here is that the fuming “Coup d’Étalk” awaits you at the very end to conclude the album on a strong note.

“Strength in Numb333rs” thus ultimately leaves me frustrated, and on the basis of the two singles the trio has since dropped, that frustration is set to continue for a little while at least. On the other hand, having felt the explosiveness of all of these songs in the live setting twice already, it could be that Fever 333 are simply less interested in creating cohesive albums than in delivering invigorating performances — much like Harrison’s former outfit The Chariot, who kept bringing the point across that simplistic music focused on intensity rather than artistry certainly has its place in this world, too. But much of the material packed into “Strength in Numb333rs” just doesn’t grip me with the same immediacy as that group’s records did.


Download: Animal, Prey for Me, One of Us, Coup d’Étalk
For the fans of: Ho99o9, Hyro the Hero, letlive.
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.01.2019
Roadrunner / 333 Wreckords Crew

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