Genuine life altering, game changing bands, much like vampire slayers usually only come around once in a generation. Apparently nobody gave Jason Aalon Butler the memo though, as the world had just finished mourning the loss of Letlive when he came back with a vengeance with Fever 333.
Coming into 2019 on the crest of a wave after a stellar 2018 which included releasing their e.p, signing with Roadrunner and their now iconic performance at Download, so no pressure then?
We are barely in a month into the year and this could already be a conversation about album of the year. Strength in Numb333rs is weaponised art with a very clear purpose and a very potent message. All power for all people.
It’s hard to break this album down because its strength lies in it being appreciated as a body of work rather than a collection of songs. Straight off the bat the album opens with the sound of a demonstration which gives way to the explosive opening of Burn It and you are immediately sucked in to the world of Fever 333. It’s a hell of a way to kick things off and it refuses to let up for the rest of the running time.
Prey for Me/3, Inglewood/3 and Out of Control/3 are the linchpins of the album and the spine that holds it all together. Not only are the longest tracks on the album but all 3 of them together hide a 333 throughout the album in plain sight, but each track is effectively split into two parts with the first part of the song telling a more personal story and the second part feeling more like its born from the band and its message. Prey for Me in particular if you listen to it has a really bouncy high energy riff and easily the catchiest song on the album, but if you scratch beneath the surface and look to the dual meaning to it’s title and lyrics there is a man here asking for someone to pray for him and look over him because there are people out there looking at him as literal prey. It’s so savvy and smart that it could be missed on the first couple of listens.
Inglewood paints a harrowing picture of a life spent growing up in a poor part of town and what it is like growing up as a minority in those circumstances. It is the most poignant song on the album and the most deeply effective. It took me completely by surprise upon first hearing it and became one my of my favourite tracks on the album instantly.
The Innocent and One of Us both speak to and about the youth, the people that shall inherit this world that we have made for them and it looks to the future and asks what can we become if we carry on this path. The Innocent employs what sounds like a choir of children on the chorus to brilliant affect and it really elevates the message of the song.
Lyrically Jason Aalon Butler takes no prisoners, writing not only some of the most emotionally resonant lyrics of his career, but also some of the most potent, thought provoking and aggressive that hit like a punch to the chest. Musically the album more than holds its own with some huge moments on here balancing the more explosive high energy rallying anthems with more stripped back, but no less hard hitting moments. Taking the very best elements of hip hop, punk, hardcore and a storytelling narrative that takes the listener on this incredible journey, there is something that feels wholly tangible and completely unique to them.
Strength in Numb333rs is a perfectly crafted album that manages to not only provide the listener with something musically fufilling but it also gives them something to belive in and to digest on a deeper level by holding a mirror up to the world and showing it for what it really is. Fever 333 are the voice of the voiceless, the band who is saying the things that everyone else is afraid to say and in doing so they have become the most important and vital band in the world. With this album they are about to become the most dangerous as well.
Fever 333 are far more than a band, this is a movement and this album is the soundtrack. There is a Fever coming and you had better be ready…
Strength in Numb333rs is released this Friday, 18th January 2019, on Roadrunner Records.