Liverpool’s FOES might not be a household name, but that’s fairly likely to change with the release of ‘The Summit Lies Skyward’; a triumphant debut, and a refreshing take on modern progressive rock.
The album opens with ‘The Choir Invisible’, and we’re greeted by a softly-sung vocal backed by shimmering delayed guitars, before the rest of the band kicks in to a rapturous wall of sound. It’s clear that what the band is going for is scale and grandeur, and this cosmically loud presence is felt throughout the album. Second track and lead single ‘Young Sovereign’ is more upbeat and riff-led, but there’s still that theatrical richness holding it all together.
Direct comparisons are hard to draw, but there are definite moments that sound like latter-day Cave In. Vocalist Chris Mackrill‘s velvety delivery is definitely reminiscent of Stephen Brodsky, particularly on the chorus of ‘Beautiful Fiction’. That’s not to say that FOES aren’t very much their own band. They’re progressive and interesting without ever straying into pretentious, and don’t complicate things for technicality’s sake. They clearly understand when a great song is just a great song, and this “less is more” approach makes the more ostentatious moments even more effective.
Basick Records have always had an ear for bands that march to the beat of their own drum, but there’s something about FOES that sets them apart from even their labelmates. Whilst the trend in UK music right now seems to be chaos, this band are incredibly considered and calculated. Every little nuance has clearly been pored over, from the undulating guitar break three minutes in to ‘Sworn Host’ to the mind-bending feedback at the end of ‘The Everest’.
‘The Summit Lies Skyward’ will almost definitely make FOES ones to watch in 2017, and if they can put out a record of this quality in such relative infancy, then anyone who is watching is sure to see special things going forward. It’s well-structured, mature, interesting, and memorable. If those aren’t qualities you see as positive then maybe give this a swerve, but even the most extreme metal fan would likely find something in here to nod their head to.
Written by Liam Knowles (@wearefixtures)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.