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Fear Nuttin Band | Vibes Love Revolution

album review by John Powell

Fear Nuttin Band | Vibes Love Revolution

This album is the Fear Nuttin Band album that defines them, the one they’ve been waiting to make since the beginning, and it is in the running for one of the best albums this year. Fear Nuttin has always had a healthy mix of metal and reggae- something of a niche market- but also sincere, righteous, and passionate. With Vibes Love Revolution, the band flips their focus, less metal songs with reggae influence and more reggae songs with metal influence, and because of this, the lyrics shine through, the grooves dig deeper, and the band seems thrilled to be playing this charismatic set.

Vibes Love Revolution follows FNB’s past records with as much frenzy, Roosta and Prowla jumping on one another’s lines, working out cool vocal parts, while the rest of the band has gotten tighter than ever. There’s no end to guitar riffs, bass lines to melt your face, and drums that seamlessly move from one drops to double time thrash. This album is, in fact, one of the best examples of reggae’s evolution and how both malleable and strong reggae music really is.

Take “Intro”, which quotes both Horsemouth the famed Jamaican drummer and Martin Luther King Jr. in the same breath. The intro lights the fuse to Vibes Love Revolution, which is more than anything an album- a string of songs carefully cured to be utterly potent.

The band takes a risk naming a song “Fear Nuttin”, but hell, it’s their theme song. The guitar riffs are intense, something you’d want to listen to in order to excite you for some spy infiltration mission. Both Roosta and Prowla have such thick Jamaican accents that it’s hard to pull out all the lyrics, but both of them switch with ease from singing to rapping, to sing-jaying.

“Think For Yourself” follows, but is very different. The sound of the hip hop/ reggae mix is something Damian Marley fans can get behind. The choruses throughout this album are toxically catchy. Here it’s, “Think for yourself/ yourself and no one else.” It’s a simple line, but it hits home at each repetition. “Don’t let no Bill O’Riley tell you what to believe,” Prowla sings behind the groove. Roosta shines here too. The two have amazing voices that work well together, and sharing verses is a really interesting way to go through an album.

The real treat is Stepehn Newland, who guest stars. His verse is scrumptious, slightly angry, and very insightful. Vibes is loaded with guest stars, which is great- to see the support of many reggae artists for Fear Nuttin.

Other guests include the horns from SOJA, who add depth to “Troddin’”, a roots infused jam. Jordan Miller of The Movement appears on “Herbalize the Nation”, the album’s pro-marijuana song, which is acoustic and has strings on it. What? Yup- lots of healthy risks taken on this album. I approve of every single one.

Jordan’s verse is a real treat. “How many accidents and deaths occur from marijuana?/ None in comparison to alcoholics driving Hondas/ They have the audacity to start bashing on marijuana?” Sure, there are plenty of songs pro-herb, but this one is heightened. Many reggae songs sung about marijuana sound as stoned out as the topic, but this one is fresh, clear-headed, and honest.

The ultimate track, however, is “It’s Not So Easy”, a song so impenetrably strong, both in composition and content. While the album makes plenty of references to Bob Marley, this song is a clear nod to the Prophet, a sharp easy skank. The melody is simple but full. If the rest of the album doesn’t shock you awake (and it all should), this song will awaken something deep inside.

Between “It’s Not So Easy” and the rest of Vibes Love Revolution, this album brings Fear Nutin Band into a new chapter, one more accessible to the average listener, staying true to the metal end of things, but it’s so much more than intensity, which is what their last two album focused on. Content is blooming and a love for good vibes is cherished. I can’t recommend this album enough.

Bottom line: One of the best albums of the year, a rich look at reggae, metal, the genres strung between, and a look at 2012, a year of change, celebration, and calls for revolution.


 

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