The Fierce And The Dead: On VHS EP

Proper prog workout from the London outfit.

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the opening track of TFATD’s new EP begins with the kind of understated guitar loops that close less ambitious records, then 6666 snarls into life with some pummelling riffage. Yet just as you start to bang your head, maestro Matt Stevens throws in gasp-inducing guitar lines – angular, beautiful and uncompromising.

The outstanding Hawaii combines hardcore guitar, Fripp-tastic atonal layers, nightmare organ and, yes, some lap slide. It’s so imbued with live edge that I swear you can hear the amp valves humming and sweat dripping from the ceiling.

Indeed, the joy of this EP is that – unlike so many ‘post-rock’ projects – it creates the impression that it hasn’t simply been built from identikit parts. Yes, it is full of smarts but it has that warm, grainy quality found on old VHS tapes. The title track itself captures all that is brilliant about TFATD: Stevens channels the sinuous virtuosity of Belew-era Crimson, the rhythm section jerks and snaps while the whole sound builds.

This is no mere left-brain math rock. The complexity intrigues but it is the vast walls of sound which move. On VHS is magnificent work - if this is the future of post-rock, I want more.