Published May 01, 2019When Orange County's Fury announced their signing to Run For Cover Records, it was met with mixed emotions among the self-identified hardcore elite. The genre, for obvious yet seemingly contradictory reasons, tends to turn its back on artists who surpass the popularity threshold and aim for longevity over short-lived exclusivity. So up until now it's been a guessing game as to what demographic Fury would be targeting with their latest release.
Aside from being one of the most widely anticipated hardcore records of the year, Failed Entertainment is a powerhouse through and through, with a little bit of something for everyone, It packs all the punch from Paramount, and fine-tunes the band's sound in order to carve out a relatively untouched nook in hardcore music.
Sure, there is straightforwardness to a lot of it, from the entirety of "America" to the slam-heavy riffs on "Angels Over Berlin" (both of which still hold their own), but Failed Entertainment goes deeper. An influence of '90s rock and melody-focused guitar work poke through the mostly mid-tempo jams.
The band toy with major key shifts ("Mono No Aware"), verse-chorus pop structuring ("Vacation"), and clean-sung vocals that are both musical and monotonous in a Brit-rocker-wearing-aviators sort of way. The singing style on "Crazy Horses Run Free," in particular, is in some ways the album's "Start Today" harmonica solo moment — the one you can't miss, because not only is it so out of place, it also somehow makes sense.
Of course, as with all great hardcore records, the lyrics are Failed Entertainment's shining asset. Themes are in keeping with tone, performances are emotionally aligned with the words, and the words are more than memorable for crowd sing-alongs and stage pile-ups alike.
Failed Entertainment is a record that'll surely become a centrepiece in this decade's hardcore trophy case. Although it may take time to grow on some, there really isn't much to dislike. It even challenges traditionalist tropes so tastefully that youth-crew heads will likely accept its nuances unknowingly. And for a genre whose patrons are usually more close-minded than they'd like to admit, I really can't think of anything better. (Run For Cover)