When letlive. suddenly called it a day, midway through 2017, the heavy music world lost one of its best and most exciting new bands. The band’s unexpected dissolution suggested that not all was well within the letlive. camp, and fans only had to wait a couple of months for iconic frontman, Jason Butler, to emerge with a brand new outfit. Along with Butler, The Fever 333 consist of ex-The Chariot guitarist Stephen Harrison and Night Verses drummer Aric Improta. Yet, despite their esteemed pedigree, little was known of the enigmatic act other than their penchant for DIY, hardcore, guerilla tactics and their assured insistence that there was indeed “a fever coming.” Things have now become a lot clearer, following Friday’s surprise-release of their debut EP Made An America, which showcases a surprising widespread palate, along with the kind of furor you’d expect from an outfit made up of some of the twenty-first century’s most vital, hardcore-adjacent acts.
Going by what was available prior to the EP’s release, you’d be forgiven for writing off The Fever as simply another nondescript hardcore act. Thankfully, Made An America showcases a diverse and challenging palette worthy of its lofty predecessors. The title track and “Soul’d Me Out” pick up comfortably where letlive. let off, there’s more than a hint of The Chariot’s chaotic template littered throughout the record and Improta’s drumming perfectly accentuates and both Butler and Harrison’s flashier offerings while also keeping things firmly on track.The trio are yet to surpass anything from their prior acts but, as a first offering, the EP provides solid reassurance that the band’s members intend to continue down the more interesting routes they’d become known for.
There’s some intriguing new directions on offer as well. Most surprising is the degree to which the record delves into the world of Hip Hop. The most direct comparison that can be made to outside acts is certainly that of Rage Against The Machine, and Butler spends the majority of the record spitting incisive and inciting catchphrases with the most amount of rap-rock vitriol this side of Zach de la Rocha. He’s yet to pen anything as poignant as the refrain of “It’s what you think therefore I am, If I’m the devil you’re the reason”, which serves as the centerpiece of letlive’s formidable swansong. However, lines like “change only comes with the first stone” and “free-speaking in tongues” find their mark, while his rabid battlecries on “We’re Coming In”, “POV” and “Hunting Season” make up for what they lack in finesse by way of palpable intent. Police brutality and racial profiling provide recurring targets and, given the politically charged nature of this release and the inklings shown on letlive.’s final outing, it’s hard not to speculate that such inclinations may have had something to do with that band’s abrupt dismantling.
Made An America is certainly a mixed bag, and some tracks feel more polished than others. “(The First Stone) Changes”, featuring Gadsden MC Yelawolf is by far the most complete composition on offer, while other cuts come across more like snapshots of a greater whole. Nevertheless, Made An America never claimed to be the finished product and it otherwise succeeds in every way in which it has to. As a jumping off point it’s certainly an intriguing one, and as a statement of intent it’s utterly viscous. The full fever might be yet to set in, but by the sound of things, it’s well and truly on its way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we feel its full brunt by the year’s end.
Made An America is out now via Roadrunner and the band’s own 333 Wrecklords Crew. Grab a copy using this link.