Let me start by saying this album is one of my favorites of all time. Each song is so powerful and brutal and packed with emotion. The genre is a little vague. It is clearly metalcore, but is just as brutal as any death metal, thicker than most sludge bands speeds ranging from grind to doom tempos. And the lyrics, not the usual blood and guts of brutal music but instead terribly angry with the shortcomings of mankind. Overall, this takes the best of every genre it touches and makes metalcore awesome.
One of my favorite parts of the album is Keith in Hell (president of Hellfest). He does an excellent job with his furious scream. I much prefer this style of yelling/screaming to growls and shrieks because it actually sounds angry and emotive. He is also fairly decipherable which is awesome. The vocals do something else though, they thicken the music. Instead of feeling like frosting like so many vocals do, they are part of the core.
Core. Interesting word. In an age full of cores (which I interpret as being the core of the music is X genre, because so many of them seem to span so many sounds), this band is one of the few that actually make me thing of a core. A steady, heavy, unshakable core. If I had to describe this band in materials, I would probably use concrete. The music is so central and thick. It rarely feels like there are frills. Where other bands use an airy guitar line over top, FDH condenses into a solid mass.
That idea of a solid mass is thanks in large part to the guitars. The riffage is not often very technical, but is always solid and creative. The timings are frequently unusual, but there is such a sense of groove that it's hard to catch to odd time signatures. There are plenty of moments of excitement though. The pinch harmonics in Solar Powered Sun Destroyer are phenomenally placed. The make me think of mountains, shooting up unexpectedly. The bass is usually hard to hear, but when it comes through it is great, totally distorted. It has a little solo in Its Hard To Hail A Cab While Holding Yourself At Gunpoint that is jsut awesome.
Its Hard To Hail A Cab While Holding Yourself At Gunpoint needs special mention because it has one of my favorite moments from a song ever. At about 1:35, during a little breakdown, Keith has the best use of profanity ever. It is one word, one line unaccompanied and it is nestled between two blasts from the rest of the band. Keep that section in mind when listening.
The drums are for the most part unimpressive but fit extrmely well. They remind me of Isis' drumming in that they get the job done and with force, but the man is no prodigy. He hits everything hard and you can tell. He is an asset because he plays with such power, though he may lack technical virtuosity. Note: this does not make him a bad drummer, just not an amazing one.
As a whole, this band and album are great. THe production is spot on, the songs are well written and filled with nuances in terms of timing and musical phrasing and motives. I could and do listen to this album nonstop. The biggest flaw is the fact that it is only 15 minutes long. Get this, it's good. Black Market Activites knows how to pick them.