Living in Fear, Fuck You Music for Fuck You People (Edgewood Records, 2023)

I’d imagine there’s an adage that says something like “living in fear ain’t living” or some other pseudo inspirational tripe. Then again, livin’ ain’t livin’ unless you’re living with Living in Fear in your life. Confused yet? Fear not, readers, I’ll keep it simple from here out.

The Atlanta crossover hardcore wildies Living in Fear have been steadily dropping heat since their 2017 inception. Amassing a smattering of singles and a grip of both essential long players and EPs, their latest is a monster. Dropping via the inimitable Edgewood Records, it’s the crown jewel in an already impressive discography.

Let’s address the herd-thinning and intense album title of the band’s latest EP. Titling the record with the GRAMMY prohibitive, Fuck You Music for Fuck You People, damn near guarantees they’ll weed out the tourists. With a fittingly bonkers EP cover and newly reworked logo, Living in Fear is on both a sonic and aesthetic hot streak.

Opener and lead single “Hellfire Reigns” starts with throbbing low end and electronics that call to mind $uicideboy$ more than say, Mindforce. Alas, worriers be damned. Our first taste of new music from the ATL crew truly gets going with deceptively simple, for them at least, but nonetheless enthralling chug. Showing that they’re as adept at the straightforward as they are off the rails histrionics.

Still replete with all the requisite cocksure attitude and fuck off riffs, you might wanna stay for the back half. Quite possibly the top shred game in, well, the game itself, the solos never stop. From an antagonistic squeal and shriek to light-speed wail that’d make '80s Hammett and Holt proud, Living in Fear have leveled up yet again. 

“Into the Cloud” reimagines a world in which early NYHC was inspired by Teutonic thrash instead of Anthrax. There’s a vicious end to their crossover tendencies more akin to the “other” Big Four: Sodom, Kreator, Destruction, and Tankard. That said, this is far from a tired retread. Fans of Foreseen, Enforced, Mindforce, Ekulu, and Dead Heat take note. Hotlanta is comin’ for the throne. 

The first strains of “Left to Rot” feel like the dying bleeps of a haunted Casio playing a demo track. Bass leads the way until we’re gifted that first speed picked riff. Goddamn this band can go. The back half posts a primitive stump that absolutely crushes, without resorting to genre requirements. 

Even when they’re pummeling and conjuring pit antics, the guitars dive all over each other like falling shrapnel. With a lyrical call back to their top notch full length, the band has clearly never tread the coward’s path.  

Photo: Jaysen/Secret Playground Photography

Track four “You Don’t Want None” comes across as much a moodpiece as it does a song. There’s a sinister lurch paired to a guitar run that sounds like the opening credits to a forgotten '80s horror anthology. Vocally, it’s packed to the rafters with triple time couplets spit out with confidence and disdain. Matched to staccato rhythms and an unfuckwithable groove, it’s but a table setter for what is arguably the best thing this band has committed to tape. Ever. 

As a closer, “The Level Six Dimension,” is simply epic. As much as I’d love to play spoiler, I’ll instead direct you to hit play and take it in. You don’t write about epics. You read‘em. In this case, go listen to that shit and tell me this band isn’t at the top of their class. At damn near five minutes, it finds Living in Fear flexing their already considerable muscle as songwriters. 

Living in Fear has never felt so fearless. Keep an eye out for a record release. Count on rippers from all seven of their heretofore bangers. Here’s to (at least) seven more… 

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