A Hero’s Death: An exciting direction change for Fontaines D.C.
Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated second full-length album, A Hero’s Death, exceeds expectations by breaking any expectations that fans may have, resulting in their most unique and complex work to date. After their successful 2019 debut with their straight-forward and gritty album Dogrel, the Dublin-based group’s newest addition to its discography is its predecessor’s complete opposite. A Hero’s Death stands as an inward examination of the band’s identity, full of restrained tracks focused on personal exploration, pushing the group and listeners in a new musical direction and establishing Fontaines D.C. as a band who will never bore you or stay still.
Reeling after the success of Dogrel, Fontaines D.C sought to rediscover themselves and rebel against the preconceived image and musical expectations built up from their achievements and fans. A Hero’s Death, from the first track, clearly lays down the band’s new take on their post-punk sound, opening with the downbeat, drone-heavy I Don’t Belong. The sombre and ghostly quality presented in the opener sets the tone for the entire album, leading into layered emotional tracks such as Love is the Main Thing. Vastly different from the up-tempo tracks of Dogrel, Fontaines D.C. in their second album lay their personal feelings bare in a complex and instrumentally interesting array of tracks.
Frontman Grian Chatten’s vocals particularly stand out and are a defining feature in the group’s transformation. Throughout the album, Chatten’s range is showcased with controlled vocals full of emotion which seamlessly add to the haunting quality of songs such as You Said and Oh Such a Spring. The album’s 11 tracks are all instrumentally compelling, with a unique quality. Guitarists Carlos O’Connell and Conor Curley, bassist Conor Deegan III and drummer Tom Coll are all showcased in layered songs full of interesting riffs and catchy hooks. Lucid Dream proves a standout track, a perfect, chaotic ensemble of the band’s instrumentals weaving together in a disorienting and unique display.
A Hero’s Death is an unabashed rejection of being an inauthentic version of the group’s history. Full of experimentation, singularity and sincerity, it is an exciting step for the band, and the mark of the death of its past, with Chatten stating: “This is us as people. If people can’t accept it or don’t like it, then their band is gone.”
Photo: Ellius Grace
A Hero’s Death is released on 31st July 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Fontaines D.C.’s website here.
Watch the video for I Don’t Belong here: