Artist: Fear the Concept
Album: Identity – EP
Our society is one that seems determined to “build” each and every person based on a series of stereotypes and pre-determined criteria. Depending on where you’re born and the conditions of your family’s social status upon your birth, you’re “expected” to fit a mold. Father ran out on you as a child? You must be damaged and a deviant. Born into a middle-class family? You must grow up to be another “cog” in America’s machine. We’re surrounded by these stigmas since birth—conditioned into an assumed identity, where those who beg to differ are shunned and rendered outcasts. Floridian metalcore outfit Fear the Concept beg to differ, however—and their latest EP, Identity is a resounding manifesto of marvelous metalcore. Crushing, aggressive grooves and grisly breakdowns surround cleanly sung choruses that do justice to a tried-and-true formula, showcasing not only a band stepping their sound up since their debut, but a band ready to step into heavy music’s fickle limelight.
Instrumentally, Fear the Concept don’t reinvent the wheel—rather, they give the listener a picture-perfect example of how the wheel should be rolling. Percussionist Anthony LaMotta is an ambi-talented member of the band, serving as the group’s unbreakable backbone. Identity sees him working with intense, quick patterns on “American Nightmare,” while experimenting with ambient, melancholy patterns on “Letters From the Grave” and “S.A.D.,” doing each style wth skill enough to make it look simple. LaMotta lends energy and density to the album’s heavier moments while giving bounce and bold, lingering catchiness to choruses like those on “Unsinkable” and the aforementioned “S.A.D.” All the while, bassist Ty St Germain keeps perfect time with him—giving the breakdowns in “Judge and Jury” and “American Nightmare” heaviness enough to sink an aircraft carrier, while keeping the fast-paced title track of the EP moving at a mile-per-minute without sacrificing a beefy low-end. Examples like “Identity” see St Germain working more closely with guitarist Jonah Hess, where together they make full-bodied riffs and grooves that dive into dissonant, disastrous breakdowns without warning. “Judge and Jury” is an excellent example of this, while “Unsinkable” sees Hess being able to easily paint over LaMotta’s moderate, mid-paced percussion to create a catchy chorus to stay lodged in the listener’s brain.
All things being equal, Fear the Concept’s instrumentation is solid—not remarkable nor is it lackluster. This means the success or failure of the EP to make a resounding impact on the heavy music community rests squarely on the shoulders of frontman Mike Frush—a responsibility he handles excellently. Frush has a gruff, deep scream that fills even the most ambient moments of Identity, expertly lending anger and aggravation to every song. His voice is brilliantly contrasted by crooning clean vocals—a metalcore staple—with a heavy/soft dynamic that is reminiscent of a slightly beefier Fit for a King or Like Moths to Flames. Whether it’s his mid-range yells and meaty bellows alongside Gift Giver’s Justin Johnson on “American Nightmare,” or his catchy shouts on “Identity,” Frush is more than capable of belting relatable (although not revolutionary) lyrics with a voice that stands strong among metalcore’s already packed herd of talent. Combined with clean vocals that don’t slack either, Frush and the vocal element to Fear the Concept’s dynamic is just what the band needed to give them an edge against their peers in the competition for the listener’s attention span.
Experienced listeners in the realm of metalcore might be quick to write Fear the Concept off as another “Rise-core” band—but any set of ears that gives the band a real shot will find passion, emotion and energy tucked within every syllable of Identity. It’s because of this that, in spite of a relatively cliché display of heavy/soft metalcore, Fear the Concept quickly win over the hearts of their audience. Whether it’s the nostalgic feeling one gets when listening to “Unsinkable,” or the power flooding forth from “Letters From the Grave,” there’s a little something for everyone to get immersed in. In a time where bands get ahead of themselves trying to reinvent a style, Fear the Concept have instead put their focus to rejuvenating the style they call “home,” giving themselves a powerful, prominent identity In a scene where names fade with each passing season.
For Fans Of: Like Moths to Flames, Fit for a King, The Amity Affliction, Adaliah
By: Connor Welsh