Review Summary: Let me hear...the future.
Kobe-based sextet Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas
made a name for themselves rather quickly by going all-in on the combination of electronicore and screamo. While the approach was rather rough at first, their fourth album Feeling of Unity
showcases what is arguably the true depth of how good they are at combining the two—at least as of right now, as the album still showcases some of the band's hidden potential that they just can't seem to tap into just yet for one reason or another.
Minami's uncleans are absolutely top-notch and compliment So's cleans very well. Likewise, guitarist Taiki is at his best, coming in with some of the greatest riffs the band has ever written and is also at his best in terms of actual instrumentation, while the keyboards (also done by So) are utilized far more tastefully than before. If there's any member who hasn't shown improvement, it's drummer Tomonori—he's still the same standard scenecore drummer, although as of right now it's not that big of an issue. The general writing structure has also taken a massive level up; rather than songs randomly switching styles as they did throughout the previous albums (Dance & Scream
being notorious for this), the band clearly defines what parts are meant to be heavy and which parts are meant to be more on the electro side without completely switching things up and causing confusion. The band's melodies have also seen a massive improvement, leading to songs such as stand-out "Let Me Hear" being irresistably catchy and infectious, with the high energy of the band only making it better. The lyricism is your standard scenecore writing; it's nothing really special, which is a shame because they're capable of doing much more.
Being an electronicore release, Feeling of Unity
's production is obviously very polished, with shiny synths on top of the heavy, crunchy guitars and squeaky clean drums—make no mistake, this is the most polished album in the band's catalog. Unfortunately, it suffers from mixing problems that virtually every scene band seems to have; bassist Kei might as well not even be here, as the album's focus on everything else completely drowns his playing out. Ultimately, the mixing issues mean that most of what makes Feeling of Unity
great is the general improvement of the band's instrumentation as well as their excellent sense of melody—most of the album's faults end up being minor in the long run, especially considering they've shown a massive will to improve in the other departments, as their reliance on instrumentation and melody isn't going to keep them running forever.
While Feeling of Unity
may win over some skeptics, it definitely won't win over all of them. However, for those already happily settled in the village of Fear, and Loathing
, it makes for another satisfying listen. While they may never be amongst the most revolutionary and influental bands outside of their genre and even remain somewhat divisive in general, if they can improve on the small amount of faults they have remaining, they could very well be one of the future pioneers of the genre's evolution.