Fiery debut from fearsome, fuzzy-faced four-piece FOES. Three years on from their formation, they forge a fantastic first album full of force and feeling. For alliteration’s sake I am going to say they hail from Farnborough.
The first thing that strikes the listener above the soupy opening strains of first track ‘The Choir Invisible‘ are the airy, impeccably well-mannered vocals of frontman Chris Mackrill, which cut through the quickly mounting wall of emo-dashed heavy metal with a crystal chopping clarity. It’s an odd combination that takes a tiny while to adjust to, like if Slipknot sacked their lead singer and replaced him with Ian Broudie.
Stirring single ‘Young Sovereign’ steers the album firmly to shore with a headbanging riff and supremely surging song structure. ‘Beautiful Fiction’ is lumbered slightly by its lyrics and acts very much the less successful follow up single.
In the mid-streak of the album FOES show off their more sensitive side, to some success. ‘No Sleepers Verse’ is slower, spacier… somnambulant. ‘Sworn Host’ is straightforward metal with a more capering melodic bent. ‘From The Stillness Came Slow Bloom’ is very tender and has the subtle ring of ‘Desire As’ by Prefab Sprout if Prefab Sprout were ever a pulverising post rock band. A lengthy interlude builds up to the almighty bruising power of Orchestrator which acts as a perfect mid-album jolt.
The remaining few tracks are awash with riches. ‘Brothers Mortal’ is bright, breezy stuff and ‘In Standing Vigil’ is yet another resolute example of a grinding but graceful guitar gruel FOES have to offer. The album wraps up with a pair of titanium strong torch songs. The powerful ‘Pin Feather’ floats to a soaring peak with a pained prettiness whereas colossal but cuddlesome closer ‘The Everest’ is every bit as huge as its name suggests.
With their first full-length effort, these formidable FOES have crafted a pearly post-rock work packed to the rafters with piercing riffs, pummelling drums and impassioned albeit pansy vocals.