Fucked Up - Year Of The DragonThis EP is the sixth in the Ontario outfit’s occasional ongoing celebration of the Chinese zodiac. Made up of one new original song and two covers, this is the bands usual surprising blend of brilliant invention and brutality.

The self-penned title track “Year of the Dragon” is a fitting match for this most ‘metal’ sounding of Chinese years, being an epic mix of agit-punk, towering riffs and a blistering, black metal-esque crescendo. Over eighteen minutes Fucked Up prove once again that they know no boundaries and are continually striving to both stimulate and pummel your ears. Their last album “David Comes To Life” was a concept album dealing with love and loss through a relationship with a mysterious denouement. Full of upbeat and direct lyrics it was a left turn from their previous psychedelia tinged wall of noise, “Chemistry of Common Life” and once again the band wrong foot us by next releasing a very political song with a strong heavy metal flavour. The guitars (and there’s always a LOT of guitars on a Fucked Up song) are at times less sonic shimmering and hazy layered. So many styles are used to brilliant effect to create this sprawling masterpiece of a song.

After a slow, chiming guitar intro vocalist Damian Abraham yells –

“We make heroes out of people who should die!”

And we’re off into a bruising hardcore punk ruckus. But then a squall of black metal intensity kicks up at around seven minutes in, with Abraham yelling –

“All the evil on top! All the evil on top!”

There is a definite bluesy feel to the songs calmer mid section and then at around the thirteen minute mark a huge marching metal riff emerges building to the songs grim conclusion, eventually falling back into the blackened abyss. Wow!

The first time I listened to this song I ended up laughing in that way you do when something  so great is happening you can’t quite believe it. Obviously I immediately put it back on and I’ve been playing it a couple of times a day ever since. I love and admire Fucked Up but even I wasn’t expecting “Year of the Dragon” to be so shockingly great.

The two cover tunes “I Wanna Be A Yank” by Cardboard Brains and “Disorder” by The Ugly are your typical two minute, US hardcore punk shout-along pit starters and are good fun, but really they only serve to highlight just how far Fucked Up have come from their roots.

You need to hear this. I can’t wait for the new album due this summer!

Fucked Up – Official website