Review Summary: "We all wear a mask, unremovable and ugly as fuck."
Fero Lux have returned at the perfect time. While the Floridian mathcore group introduced subtle political themes on their 2012 debut Some Divine Ashtray,
they still kept their inherently anarchistic intentions concealed. Their sophomore release couldn't be more different- No Rest
defines itself by its steadfast political drive. Both thematically and stylistically, this is the most boldly written release Fero Lux have released yet.
's bloodied and persistent political commentary is one of its most rewarding components. While "No Insignia" speaks out about inherently brutalist fascism ("Some never flinch upon an order cold and cruel / painted in the color of a blade in the back of our neighbor,") "The Wires That Hang" serves as a blunt call-out against police brutality (""I'm too young to lose this much blood," he cried as he died in the streets of your hood, alone.") Perhaps the most disturbing message is "Suicide Nets," whose lyrics suggest rampant capitalism cannot be successfully combated in a world with the poor starving on the streets, that truly, "anarchy is dead." In the wake of today’s political landscape in the U.S., where Donald Trump literally left his rally in Chicago because of a fear of protestors, it’s hard to say how true vocalist Victor Skamiera’s claim is- and in all likelihood, it probably comes from a place of exhausted cynicism. But regardless, nihilism itself is a frightening thought for activists nationwide. More specifically speaking, though, nobody can blame Fero Lux for being angry- the group’s home state of Florida has the infamous Rick Scott for governor, a man under fire recently for outright refusing to admit that not all Muslims hate America. Regardless of how much more pronounced political protesting has become in the U.S. in these last few years, the political infrastructure itself was designed for generations long passed, for a demographic whose needs were wildly different than the next. And this is why thematically, No Rest
is one hell of a statement- it is an album birthed from socioeconomic hardship, and proves that perhaps more so than its neighbors, the Bible Belt is in dire need of progressive politics.
Skamiera's lyrics are hardly the only notable thing about Fero Lux, though- the first ten seconds of “Year of the Gnat” can tell you just as much. Ferocious and inventive, this band still have a knack for writing powerhouse mathcore tracks- ones that reel the listener in, but also leave enough incentive to convince them to stick around. The unique stylistic attributes that made Some Divine Ashtray
special have returned- Fero Lux still wear a broad sleeve of influences, and they still seem to understand how important versatility is in math-influenced metal. "No Headline" is probably the best introduction to No Rest,
a track that expertly melds the group’s affinity for inventive time signatures and infectious guitar riffs into one fierce and cohesive statement. And "Everything Beautiful is Behind You" is ironically the most gorgeous track the group has released thus far, in how it continually expands on a surprisingly melodic conceit in its choruses. Like the rest of this album, the song works because it knows its strong points.
In general, No Rest
does an incredible job of concealing its blemishes. Its production job smoothes over rough vocal recordings in order to reroute attention to the instrumentation. True, these moments might be hard to recreate live- but in general they sound great in their proper recorded context. Music as multifaceted and dynamic as mathcore warrants a thorough production job, with which the band themselves did a great job. And Daniel Colombo helped strengthen the record around its edges, recording, mixing and mastering the album. A well-produced album highlights talented songwriting, and that is certainly the case with these songs. "The Devil" might be the only exception to this rule, actually. The song inhabits an awkward, slower tempo than on the band’s 2013 split with Courtships. As the track lurches forward, it becomes a little overpacked, Skamiera's vocals uncomfortably shrill. I'm torn between admiring that he realizes the importance of variety and hoping he sticks more vigorously to mid-range screams, just because he seems to pull those off more consistently well. But even if something was lost in the translation of re-recording this track, it just goes to prove an important point- No Rest
could have been misguided and messy. Instead, the album generally proves the band's worth better than anything else they've released yet.
The kind of political statements No Rest
carries on its sleeve place their faith against oppression of all kinds, and in crowds, in protests and riots. This leads to Fero Lux's music existing as a message itself, a middle-finger not just to the 1%, but to all who are complicit in their reign. In being simultaneously a musical and political statement that is bold as hell, No Rest
accomplishes as a record what Fero Lux aim to do as a unit- to get people talking, and to organize them as a force for change.