The political soapbox that Jason Aalon Butler has built himself over the past decade has been nothing short of extraordinary. Whether it’s been with former outfit letlive, current band FEVER 333 or side project Pressure Cracks, the one-man wrecking ball has ensured that he’s always been at the forefront of the call to arms against the establishment, his music doubling up as the megaphone he uses to shout his vociferous speeches of rebellion opposite whichever government should be his target. January 18th, sees Strength in Numb333rs unleashed, the follow up to FEVER 333’s critically acclaimed EP Made an America that blew a sizable hole in End of Year lists across the world.
Anyone who pines the demise of letlive – and there are plenty – should take the opening prologue as a definitive sign that they won’t be back any time soon, because with a throat-ripping shout of ‘I want them to know there’s a motherfucking fever coming!’, Strength in Numb333rs storms out of the blocks with Rage Against the Machine-esque guitars, a ridiculous amount of bounce and arena-sized choruses that wouldn’t go amiss on a Linkin Park album from the early 2000’s. It’s not fully metal and it’s not fully rap, but as has been ascertained over the last twenty years, when both are blended together just right the results are dynamite. Suffice to say, FEVER 333 have managed this over ten tracks and forty minutes of relentless, furious brilliance.
It will come as no surprise to hear that Butler is an utter sensation across the record, the closest somebody will ever get to the masterful performances of Zack de la Rocha in his prime. Whether it’s the brutal, vocal-destroying opening to the raucous ‘One of Us’ or the softer, emotionally-laden tones used on the autobiographical ‘Inglewood’, Butler commands every vocal line with the right amount of weight and power, showing a diversity and range that will see his stock rise ever higher as the album gets out to more and more people and his message becomes near-Gospel to an unhappy, unsettled generation.
Of course, said message wouldn’t go anywhere if it seemed like a load of hot air, but the lyrical prowess on Strength In Numb333rs is another major factor in placing it head and shoulders above its competition. ‘Prey for Me’, a track that shifts pace halfway through, is anchored through its latter stages by the superb “You’re not the only one that feels like the only one”, a line that deserves to be plastered on billboards across the globe. Likewise, ‘One of Us’ delivers a warning shot, “Stand up or die on your knees” a violent picture of what will occur if something doesn’t give in the current climate soon and ‘The Innocent’ is rooted in the simple yet substantial ‘Long live the innocent!’ rallying cry. The more one listens, the more savage each song becomes until the words are near enough cutting through bones with their unforgiving stance and crushing reality of the planet in the present day.
It’s been nearly twenty-seven years since we were introduced to the likes of ‘Killing in the Name’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Bombtrack’ by four pissed off individuals from Los Angeles, and whilst it’s taken nearly three decades, we finally have a natural successor to that outrageous debut record. Strength in Numb333rs will shake foundations to their very cores and rightly so, because this is as angry and furious as it gets; an album that is guaranteed to be talked about in the same vein come 2036.