FEVER 333 - STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS
Review by Shannon Shumaker
It seems that every few years, there’s a new band or a new album in the punk scene that influences and the artists to come after it, whether they know it or not. In the 90’s, that album was Refused’s The Shape Of Punk To Come. In the early 2000’s, Green Day brought punk back into the mainstream with American Idiot. Now, genre-bending activists, FEVER 333 have arrived with their incendiary debut full-length album, STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS, and it’s just the release that the punk scene needs in 2019.
Whether or not you’ve listened to FEVER 333 prior to picking up STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS, this album will come as a pleasant surprise. Those who aren’t sure what to expect from the explosive ten-track release will be pleased to find quite a bit of tenderness and poetic lyricism in even the most aggressive and violent songs, while fans of FEVER 333 will be met with a wide variety of sounds that the trio’s short debut EP, Made An America didn’t quite cover.
Opening the album is the anthemic “BURN IT,” which serves as the perfect introduction to FEVER 333 and acts as a catalyst for the songs that follow. Lyrically, this song feels like a first step for those who want to make a change in the world but aren’t sure where to start and sonically, it hosts just about everything that makes FEVER 333 special - aggressive, emotional vocals, gritty guitar and bass, pounding drums and just the right amount of hip-hop influence to give it an edge that most modern punk bands don’t have. And from there, it just keeps getting better. “ANIMAL” finds the band embracing their hip-hop roots in the verses but absolutely exploding into a rock-influenced chorus.
Then there’s “PREY FOR ME/3,” a genre-bending, mind blowing track that somehow manages to bounce seamlessly between house music, hip-hop, modern rock and punk. Those who have been a fan of vocalist Jason Aalon Butler since his time in his previous band, letlive. will likely be pleased with this track, which definitely feels like a nod to his older work. Meanwhile, the song also hosts some of the strongest lyrical content on the first half of the album, driving home the message, “You’re not the only one that feels like the only one.” Many of the songs on STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS might have similar song structures - aggressive, hip-hop influenced verses that give way to massive, memorable choruses - but it fucking works, and the band definitely plays to those strengths, but not without trying a few new things, too. Just when you think you have them all figured out, the bridge of “PREY FOR ME/3” comes in and shakes things up, proving that FEVER 333 aren’t a one trick pony.
It’s impossible to listen to STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS and not dig deep into each track, from the aggressive and frustrated, “ONE OF US” which touches on police brutality with its infectious intro (“You are the minority / We are the majority”) and heavy hitting line, “Stand up or die on your knees,” to the more personal ballad, “INGLEWOOD/3,” which serves as an ode to Butler’s hometown. By the time that “INGLEWOOD/3” comes to an end, it’s impossible not to feel personally affected by and invested in the album, and it’s only the halfway point.
“OUT OF CONTROL/3” picks up the pace following the slower “INGLEWOOD/3” and “THE INNOCENT,” meanwhile “AM I HERE?” just goes to prove the band’s versatility once more with acoustic guitar and strings. Songs like “INGLEWOOD/3” and “AM I HERE?”, while some of the slowest, most emotional songs on the album, are the ones that really pave the way for the future of FEVER 333 and their followers, too. These moments of tenderness and vulnerability in the middle of an otherwise explosive release give the album a personal edge that can be hard to find in politically-driven music, and FEVER 333 pull it off with ease because for them (and for countless others) this is personal.
Not only is STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS the album that punk needs right now, it’s the album that the music scene as a whole needs in 2019. FEVER 333 have managed to balance this album perfectly, both sonically and lyrically with songs that manage to blend countless genres while dancing between rage, greif, a desire to change and most importantly, hope. With STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS, FEVER 333 remind listeners that it’s okay to be angry and it’s okay to feel hopeless when staring down the face of our current political climate, but they also encourage fans to do something constructive with their frustration and anger and change the world for the better. After all, we have strength in numbers.
LISTEN TO “PREY FOR ME/3” or “INGLEWOOD/3”
STAY CONNECTED WITH FEVER 333: https://www.facebook.com/fever333/