FOLLOWING last year’s highly revered album Strength in Numb333rs, it was inevitable that that would not be the last we’d hear from Fever 333.
Unfortunately, their new EP, Wrong Generation (released on October 23rd via Roadrunner Records) was born from a situation which should never be happening in our day and age. It comes following the tragic death of George Floyd, and the subsequent worldwide protests that followed the atrocity in America on May 25th, 2020. Frontman and lead vocalist Jason Butler was there for it all, and The Wrong Generation is the project which was born from the raw anger and pure rage of what he describes as a 13-day period.
“I went into the streets for 13 days straight—day and night—sometimes both. I was there for the “Riots,” the “Peaceful Protests,” and for what I consider to be “Rebellion.” I was marching for miles and yelling for days. My voice was tired. My head was spinning. My heart was heavy, but I felt like we were doing something we needed to do. In a system literally founded on control of power, they start to listen when you threaten that control. That’s what we did.”: accompanying statement to the EP from Jason Aalon Butler, frontman
Opener “Bite Back” sets the tone for the entire EP; it’s pure driven anger and frustration in its purest musical form. The song’s breakdown is one of the best I’ve heard all year and perfectly encapsulates the feelings of the protests more honestly than I’ve seen anyone attempt in any medium. Clocking in at just over three minutes, it’s definitely a candidate for song of the year.
“Block Is On Fire” is a great example of how Fever 333 mesh hip-hop and punk together so seamlessly; lyrically, Butler takes aim once again at the people allegedly hired to throw bricks at police cars/buildings so the blame could be shifted to the protesters (“the block is on fire, y’all some fuckin liars, cop cars brick piles, who’s the supplier, since we on the subject, let’s talk about the suspects, sworn in they serve us, then forgot to protect,”). It’s cool to see the hip-hop influence of the group play more prevalently than in Strength in Numb333rs.
Title track “Wrong Generation” is based on samples from Travis Barker‘s (who happens to beat the crap out of the drums on this EP), solo album track Carry It [feat. RZA, Raekwon, and Tom Morello]. It’s a rallying cry and ultimately a proud battle cry of all the people fighting against police brutality amongst every other issue Butler is spearheading the feelings of. The guttural screaming outro of “you f**ked with the wrong generation,” makes it impossible to ignore the true message being slammed in your face in the best way.
Just when you thought they couldn’t get any angrier, “You Wanted A Fight” is undeniably visceral. The reference to George Floyd’s death is perfectly placed amongst the sonic chaos (“take a knee while chanting, I can’t breathe”). John Feldmann’s Rage Against the Machine-style guitar wailing builds in a crescendo to bring the song to a close in a guttural smash.
Crowd chanting brings in “Walk Through The Fire Together”, symbolising the unity and togetherness felt by the people fighting for their cause; this is emphasised further by the marching drumbeat. Speaking on this fact, Butler himself explains: “it’s sonic symbolism in reference to our militia, armed forces, and more bodies that are utilized in the name of freedom.”
“For The Record” is pure old-school punk, and in some ways sounds slightly out of place on this collection, if it weren’t for the angsty vibe continuing to permeate throughout; in a way, it has its place simply through the rebellious ethos of punk. “The Last Time” is a beautiful, sombre moment, summing up a tired feeling of things never changing over and over again. As Butler laments, “you said this would be the last time, you let us down for the last time,” it’s incredibly difficult to not be incredibly moved by the sincerity.
Closing track “Supremacy” is probably the most radio-friendly of the eight tracks (sonically, at least). If anything it’s more funk-pop, but still keeping their hip-hop roots truly prevalent. Its message is bold, and it’s incredibly well placed at the end of the EP, to summarise the root of what Fever 333 are stating that we need to start trying to change in society.
It’s spectacularly difficult, to sum up Wrong Generation as a musical release in any single word other than … poignant. It’s thought-provoking, it’s insanely bold, and it just simply needs saying. Many people still hold the attitude that politics and music don’t fit, but time and time again we find that it simply isn’t correct. This EP isn’t even just that: it’s a statement, and if music is the form that it arrives in then so be it.
Tackling white privilege and systemic racism is no easy feat, as we are figuring out more than ever this year, but seeing bands like Fever 333 discussing these issues in music is a complete step in the right direction.
Fever 333’s Wrong Generation is available digitally today.