Fathers, You Deserve Hell (Sailor Records, 2019)

Denver-based hardcore unit Fathers have released a scathing indictment of the current political situation with their latest album, You Deserve Hell.

Consisting of Oscar Ross on vocals, Eddie Maestas and Zach Amster on guitars, Mhyk Monroe on bass, and Ryan Dewitt on drums, Fathers construct an album overflowing with anger and emotion, often using the most basic elements of music in surprisingly complex ways.

Album opener, “O’Malley," is an excellent example of Fathers modus operandi. The song starts with a simple, discordant guitar figure. The band pops in and out though at unexpected intervals, interjecting itself with bursts of fury and noise, continuously ratcheting up the tension. They strive for a satisfying release but never find it, instead leaving the listener in an anxious, almost paranoid state that tends to reflect that reflects the mindset of the average westerner today.

The song is in some ways incredibly basic, the band orbiting around that one single guitar part, yet the dancing in and out of all the other instruments gives a great sense of unpredictability, never allowing the listener’s mind to wander without missing the song’s next event.

The album blazes forward from there. “Sunday” starts with a vicious D-beat while Ross walks a fine line between screaming and melody, giving the vocals a memorable quality while keep the adrenaline ramped up. The song contains a fairly melodic chorus as well as quieter bridge section, all illustrating that with Fathers, the devil is in the detail. “Friend of a Friend” and “Old Devil” both evoke the power of Quicksand, albeit much heavier, yet the latter drops into another mellower section halfway through, a lone guitar engaging in just a few atmospheric strums. When the band comes back, we are treated to a moody bit of interplay, almost like staring up at a desert sky. 

Each song moves from one style of hardcore to the next seamlessly, “Normal” hitting the D-beat once more while “Leak” shows Father equally adept at a metalcore approach. Perhaps the biggest shock is the song “Work”. Here, Fathers engages with the aforementioned desert ambiance in full. An acoustic guitar accompanies a plaintive vocal, while an electric guitar compliments with twangy interjections.

This leads into the penultimate “You Deserve Hell”, the final song on the album. If everything that came before shows Fathers blending disparate Hardcore styles across the whole record, they seem to take all those elements and inject them into this song. Once again, the results are exhilarating. 

Fathers are masters of their craft. Their songs prove quite memorable, delivering rage and melody in equal doses. The fact that the vocals are always screamed with a bit of melody creeping in around the edges might be the key to their cohesion. Clean vocals might have proven a bridge too far, making everything too saccharine. Instead, the emotion is earnest and intact, and You Deserve Hell is powerhouse record, one that will stay stuck in your head long after listening to it. 

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