Fucked Up

Year Of The Horse

Written by: PP on 15/08/2021 21:26:41

No strangers to pushing the envelope, "Year Of The Horse" marks Fucked Up's foray into avant-garde territory. Its four songs, which can be split into 88 separate segments across an hour and a half, feature a story-based approach that's best understood as a hardcore opera. Its pure experimentalism is expressed as a congruent musical with a multitude of stylistic shifts and dynamics in the process from spoken word to haunting choral passages, from Metallica-inspired shredding to straight-up Fucked Up snarls as we remember them from their, shall we say, normal output.

"Year Of The Horse" is Fucked Ups's "Frances The Mute", the hour and twenty minutes-long psychedelia that became the cornerstone of the weirdo Latin-flavored prog-rock style of The Mars Volta in 2005. While bearing no sonic resemblance to the latter, it strives for similar intricacies and free-flowing, progressive song structures to warrant the comparison. It's stylistically entirely separated from previous Fucked Up material, with only a few moments of vocalist Damian Abraham's raspy growls reminding us we're actually listening to the Canadian hardcore band. It's full of ambient segments, dramatic instrumental crescendoes, electronic moments, and much more. In that sense, the group isn't just pushing the envelope... they are effectively breaking it.

That breach of contract from what we usually expect sound-wise from Fucked Up means there's very little here, if any at all, for Fucked Up's fanbase to come after. With a two-hour runtime and each act (the songs are called: "Act 1", "Act 2", "Act 3", and "Act 4") ranging between 19 and 26 minutes, the real question is: who has time in 2021 to take this in as a record - or even as individual songs - and listen to it throughout? It gets worse: imagine having to sit through this in a live performance meaning skipping songs like "Crooked Head" and "Sun Glass" altogether?

The thing is, "Year Of The Horse" is way too experimental for its own good. For background music in a theatrical play or as a cinematic soundtrack, sure, but its megalomaniac approach borders on delusional to what their listeners will put up with. Too much of the record feels like a noisy interlude, and almost none of it features their signature style groove and upbeat drive that has always characterized the best Fucked Up material. And seriously, what's with the guitars referencing late 80s Metallica on multiple occasions? Either way, this is not a good look for any band in today's world of shortened attention spans. Can we get back to the three-minute hardcore bangers, please?


Download: Act 2, Act 3
For the fans of: Metz, The Bronx
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.05.2021

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