Artist: Southbound Fearing
Label: Red Cord
Release Date: 05/27/14
Reviewer: Scott Swan
- No One Owes Us Anything
- Brave New World
- Guns Blazin’
- Easy Way Out
- You and What Army
- Swords and Ears
- Fight Another Day
- Standing in the Way
Alright, so the opening of the very first song really sets the tone for this entire album and for the band all together. Let me set the scene for you:
Voices murmuring throughout a crowded room, perhaps a bar or concert hall of some sort. Glasses are clanking, a waitress is taking orders, and maybe some guys have a dart game going in the back corner. Four fellows from Toledo, Ohio proceed to walk up on the small stage without anyone really even noticing. The guitar player reaches for his cable, and plugs into his amp. Then, without hesitation, commences to rip into a blistering opening riff that snaps everyone to attention and makes the announcement that rock and roll is about to happen. This is the exact setting that pops in my mind when I hear the opening few seconds of Southbound Fearing’s new release “Undefeated” from Red Cord records. It’s also what’s so refreshing about this band; just good ole American, hard working, guitar driven, rock music.
The band gets right to it with their title track. A hard rocker encouraging us to stand up and not be afraid to take on all comers. You kind of get the idea with a MMA fighter as the cover art, that the theme of not taking crap from the bad stuff life throws at you will be somewhere on this record. Lead singer Brady Leonard’s vocals work well with the guitar driven melodies, no real screaming or growling here, just a smooth delivery that gets the point across in fine form. Gang vocals come in every so often in strategic moments highlighting a phrase here and there.
Songs such as “Gun’s Blazin” and “You and What Army” also highlight the overall theme of shedding fear and facing your giants. The former featuring a well incorporated female voice (who at this point is unknown to me), that fits like a glove. The relentless guitar attack sounds great on this record, and really is the trademark for this band.
The songs “No One Owes Us Anything” and “Easy Way Out” envelop the concepts of not taking hand-outs, earning your keep, and putting aside any thoughts of entitlement (novel ideas huh?). I get the sense this band has taken good care of every opportunity they have been given, and hard work is not been something they have shied away from. The first lines of “Easy Way Out”say it all:
“Call me what you will/But don’t call me a charlatan/I never claim to be anything more than what I am/We’re just the ones that won’t back down/The ones that won’t run away from the proving ground/There ain’t no easy way out.”
Throughout the album, you can hear each instrument with a production that allows the music to breath, but certainly not overly loose or demo sounding. I love hearing the great bass fills in the tune “Fight Another Day,” which also features some guest screaming from Sean McCullough from Phinehas toward the end. “Standing in the Way” brings in some punk elements with the snap quick drumming and gang shouting.
Lyrically, this record is not overly spiritual, but they do slip in nuggets here and there that make it clear that they know quite well that their strength to fight any battles come from the Lord. From the track “Chaos” I read into the lyrics that the songs is not only about keeping it together in times of trouble, but also when failure and doubt start to creep in:
“It takes much more to break us down/we’re standing united/we won’t give in/we won’t back down/in the face of the chaos.”
Overall: I have not had the privilege of hearing them in concert yet, but my guess would be they are a blast live. This is just a fun record to listen to, a good pick me up after a bad day of battling in the world. After spending a lot of my time lately more in the heavier metal and metalcore stuff, this was a good palate cleanser for me. If you are like me and need something to mix up your playlist a little, I would highly recommend this latest offering from Southbound Fearing. Enjoy.
RIYL: Relentless Flood, This Fires Embrace, The Wedding