8.8Overall Score

Fever 333, Strength In Numb333rs
Roadrunner Records

Fever 333’s debut album starts with a track simply entitled ‘…’ – it’s a faux news report in which a newsreader announces that she’s at a protest, full of people from all walks of life, all chanting ‘3-3-3’ and demanding change. Whilst this could be construed as trite, on an album as powerful and forward with its message as Strength In Numb333rs, it’s a perfect beginning – the Inglewood trio could well be this generation’s Rage Against The Machine, and their debut is an absolute powerhouse from start to finish.

‘I realised hardcore is a boy’s club — it’s a heterosexual, white male boy’s club,’ frontman Jason Butler said in an interview with Revolver Magazine. This is the crux of the record – this is why it feels so special, from both a musical and lyrical standpoint. Rapcore and nu-metal has existed since the 90’s, but Fever 333 are modernizing it; they combine hardcore music with trap beats and hip-hop motifs that feel current and exciting. Butler and co., all people of colour themselves, are making hardcore feel accessible to everyone – not just white boys. Tracks such as Prey For Me/3, Burn It and Animal feel like a Thirty Seconds To Mars collaboration with Ho99o9 – something that just shouldn’t work, but it really, really does. Butler’s vocals, as usual, are impeccable; he can rap, scream, and sing, all in quick succession, like a one-man Linkin Park.

Strength In Numb333rs’ power lies primarily in its message – the whole album feels like a literal riot from start to finish. Lead single Burn It’s pre-chorus features lines such as ‘I got a mind like Martin, visions of Rodney King’; this drives home the themes of police brutality and government-enforced social divides that currently ravage America, and which Fever 333 aim to bring attention to and encourage people to fight against. Standout track, Inglewood, calls forth Butler’s personal experiences growing up in LA’s southside surrounded by violence and oppression. It feels both grieving and quietly hopeful in its first half. Its second half, however, burns with rage at the inequality POC face – and burning is another motif on the record. It serves as a reminder that some minority groups aren’t fortunate enough to make change through peaceful methods – they’ve been silenced for so long they have no choice but to be LOUD now.

Coup D’Etalk, the record’s closing track and clever play-on-words, sums up the band’s message perfectly. ‘Just so you know, we are the product of people you stole,’ Butler spits at the government, reminding listeners that oppressed people have been forced to act in extreme ways by those above them. ‘We, the people, fight the power to maintain our power,’ he chants as a news report closes the album – Strength In Numb333rs feels as cohesive and well-formulated as it does impactful. Some may criticise this album for being too in-your-face, but at this point, that’s exactly what the world needs.

Strength In Numb333rs is out tomorrow via Roadrunner Records.