2020 has come with a few curveballs that has left humanity in anger, anxiety, and altogether a rollercoaster of sentiments that many of us won’t forget so easily. Not only the pandemic has caused havoc, but remember the tragic death of George Floyd due to police brutality in Minneapolis and the injustice of his passing, enlarging the social injustices that African Americans are facing in America. Floyd‘s death triggered worldwide protests against police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability. Among the protesters was FEVER 333‘s frontman Jason Aalon Butler, who spent 13 days marching in the frontline at the rebellious protests throughout Los Angeles earlier this year. On the 14th day of protests, fresh in mind, and just in eight days, Butler articulated his thoughts and penned them down, resulting in the release of their EP “Wrong Generation,” out on 23 October 2020 through Roadrunner Records.
For a moment, let’s stop and think about what “Wrong Generation” means. From the Global Climate Strike to the Black Lives Matter movement, Generation Z have been the main driving force behind recent global protests. Born and raised in the age of terrorism, uncertainty, and social media, demonstrations are organized through social media (for instance, #BlackLivesMatter has more than 8 million Tweets) and then they move to the streets. Chanting “you fuck with the wrong generation,” in the title track of this EP, is an accurate representation of what is happening today. All of these tracks have an important message serving as an indictment of everything that is not right in our current society.
The Black Lives Matters movement came from America but didn’t stop at its borders. Everywhere in the world, black communities experience social injustices ranging from police brutality to racism. Coming from Belgium, a country that has perhaps one of the cruelest shares in colonial history – King Leopold II of Belgium exploited Congo without even setting a foot in the country – a song like “Bite Back” seems even more appropriate. Not only squares are named after King Leopold II, but plenty of statues are to be found across the country and as a result of Black Lives Matter, were vandalized after protests. “I wanna be there when the final racist statue falls,” is, therefore, a line that drew my attention in “Bite Back,” which is probably the most aggressive track on this EP, representing feelings of injustice in the best way possible; a banger of a track with a very powerful message.
The next track, “Block is On Fire” focuses more on the band’s rap and hip-hop influences. Lyrically, the song questions the involvement of government and police who were hiring looters to throw bricks on cars and much more, to shift the blame to protesters. While the structure of the track is fairly simple, especially in the chorus, it’s focused around an extremely hooky guitar riff and laid-back rhythms. Due this minimalistic atmosphere, the focus is mostly on the lyrics, which underlines the importance of FEVER 333‘s political message.
“Wrong Generation” continues the hip-hop oriented sound, but also fuses in extremely heavy guitar riffs. The above-mentioned hook in the lyrics, “you fucked with the wrong generation,” is an extremely clever way to make sure the message of these lyrics stick to the listeners’ mind, whether they agree with it or not, eventually the line goes into a crescendo, until an explosive breakdown happens, reminiscent of RAGE OF AGAINST THE MACHINE‘s “Killing in the Name of.”
George Floyd‘s death is referenced in “U Wanted a Fight,” the apparent line “I can’t breathe” pops out in the lyrics, while the riffs breathe punk. The next part of the EP, is continuously getting heavier and revolving towards more punkish atmospheres. Evident is the energetic “Walk Through the Fire,” but also the otherworldly “For the Record,” featuring Walter Delgado (ROTTING OUT).
In stark contrast, “Last Time” follows; a beautiful and emotional ballad, that serves as some sort of an intermezzo before the last song, “Supremacy” kicks in. Once again, this song is an eye-opener, where the band beautifully mixes in an important subject in an artistic manner. Piece-by-piece these songs serve as timeless tracks focusing on problems that hopefully will be something of the past, even though we still have a long way to go.
Altogether, “Wrong Generation” is probably the most consistent release FEVER 333 have put out so far. The varying influences ranging from hip-hop and punk to heavy metal have been bundled beautifully in an album that deserves to be heard. In this masterpiece, sentiments as anger, frustration, but also the will to fight back are apparent and it’s clear that attending these protests for 13 days have triggered something so important that needed to be expressed through music. It feels like bands like FEVER 333 are a rarity nowadays, but that makes them even more relevant to listen to, if you like your music to have meaning, give “Wrong Generation” a go, you won’t regret it.
1. BITE BACK
2. BLOCK IS ON FIRE
3. WRONG GENERATION
4. YOU WANTED A FIGHT
5. WALK THROUGH THE FIRE TOGETHER
6. FOR THE RECORD
7. THE LAST TIME
Jason Aalon Butler – lead vocals, guitars, bass, percussion
Stephen Harrison – guitars, backing vocals, bass, percussion
Aric Improta – drums, percussion
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”