FØES​​/​Heated – A War on Everything (Split EP)


FØES and Heated are road companions who saw their livelihoods threatened and their sanity disturbed when the USA went into lockdown in 2020. The former hail from Oregon and mix the heaviest hardcore with the dexterity of mathcore. Heated are a Californian trio that started as a solo project under the creative hand of Roman Gonzalez. Both come together on this split EP with tales of dysfunction, discrimination, and an understanding that the American Dream never applied to them. Their vitriolic rage is the anger of the marginalised people who suffer from a poverty of expectation (to quote the 2015 general election rhetoric in Britain).

FØES are the band no gangster or money-launderer would screw out of their appearance fee when booked to play the roughest of dive bars in urban America. Their opening salvo, ‘Ghost Town’, is a punch in the face to the smiling elite nepotists that run their country. Listen to those violent blast beats and seething vocal screams. This is what modern Napalm Death sound like when writing songs about slum landlords. “Zombies wearing Patagonia® jackets/ Now I’m walking by/ Loser, Degenerate, Deviant/ I’m fucking scum (That’s what your eyes tell me),” roars vocalist, Micah Berry. It’s more intense than a Vladimir Putin lecture to Russia’s failing General Staff, but you can detect a sense of humour underneath the chaos. ‘Dog Catcher’ shows a more technical side to the band’s musicianship. The finger-twisting guitar shapes and d-beat drums create a fusion of Dillinger Escape Plan and Integrity with a Cro-Mags street-stomp. See if you can hold back when they launch their breakdown riff and follow it with another – even slower – staccato bludgeoning.

You might wonder if you’ve stumbled upon an Autechre b-side at the beginning of Heated’s ‘Immune Leap’. Then the Converge craze kicks in and Joey Barrows falls into a hysterical screamo fit about the soul-destroying nature of the rat race. “You’ve been convinced to align yourself/ With a number and a badge/ You’ve been convinced this is all we were/ And all we will ever have.” Behind him is a rhythm section that bleeds with spasmic delight. The way they mix a growling bass tone with the dissonant chugs and squeals of Deadguy will remind you of English prog-metal weirdos, SiKth. No potential high school shooter should be allowed anywhere near the violent dynamics and hyper-aggression of this song. ‘Doom Feed’ is far more disturbing. We’ve all experienced those awkward family gatherings, but few of us can relate to the hatred the protagonist in this song projects on to his blood relatives. “I slowly close the door behind myself/ And sit down inside the living room by myself/ I’ve quit knowing all of you/ Reaching out/ For what/ If you want another statement/ I’ve got none.” One hopes this is not autobiographical. What sort of fucked up childhood produces this amount of animosity? You’ll find yourself lost in the whirlwind of neurosis, among the bewildering drum accents and hysterical vocal abrasions, as you try to make sense of the sonic battery. This is metallic hardcore at its best.

Four tracks spread across ten minutes sound underwhelming on paper, but the intensity of this split EP is its biggest draw. How can they cram so much into such a short space of time? A War on Everything is an apt title for the finger-squirming rage served up by FØES and Heated on this joint effort.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 14/05/2021

Record Label: Glacier Recordings

Standout tracks: FØES – Dog Catcher; Heated – Doom Feed

Suggested Further Listening: Gulch – Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress (2020), Extinguish – Extinguish (2021), Trappist / Connoisseur – Cross Faded (2021)