The Fades have decided to laugh into the chaos that is 2020 by re-releasing their 2012 album Ragnarok. Complete with a vinyl press and two new belters, the album is their scream into the abyss of the aggravation felt by so many people. The two new songs bring new energy to the album and act as two sides of the same coin. They channel the contradicting feelings of hope and despair that have crept into society and our lives.
While the band has been busy with numerous successful projects single their 2016 The Blackdrop EP, they felt the turmoil of this year needed an ear-splitting soundtrack. The tracks of their old album seemed to be fitting as they hit home in a different way now. The re-work of the album helps you connect with their sound again and gives you a taste of something new.
The raucous album starts with the deep guitar lines of ‘Be Your Man’. There is a dark vibe to the track that burst through on the deep tones of the guitars before the vocals hit you. The driving pace of the song gets you moving to the beat as it peaks on the chorus. The slower verses build up the tension which has this excellent release in the vocals and piercing guitar. This song sets the tone of the album in all its garage-rock glory.
‘I Don’t Wanna’ has a more punk-rock vibe to it. The intense guitar lines during the verses set you up for the seriously melodic chorus. There is a high probability that you are going to be singing along to the chorus before you realise it. This song has an infectious energy to it that makes you want to move and listen to it again and again. The lyrics are also easy to connect with and seem to take on a new meaning in this crazy year.
The bursts of guitar in the opening of ‘Meccano’ grab your attention before the drums hook you. Using an interesting lyrical structure that is strangely catchy, the song makes you want to move. If you were hearing this song live, you would have to jump and sing along. While the lyrics are limited, the melody makes up for everything as it is easy to fall into. There is a somewhat softer vibe to this track that still captures the essence of the band’s soundscape.
‘Make Me Famous’ hits you with the ear pounding sounds you expect from The Fades. The vocals have this deep feeling to them that pick up to a real garage rock fest. You can almost picture the band playing this song as the drums make you move and the guitars come at you with these delightful riffs.
The soaring guitars at the start of ‘But I Love You’ have this swaying quality to them. This is compounded by the sombre and dark vocals. There is an undulating vibe to this track as you are taken through the story of the lyrics. There is something insidious lurking around the low edges of this song even as everything picks up for a higher tone on the chorus. The declarations of the chorus almost make the rest of the song seem even more sinister.
‘So Much Better’ is the first of the new songs on the album and has this driving melody to it. While the band’s sound is clear on the track, you can hear that there is something different to it compared to the other songs. This might be the somewhat uplifting vibe this song has as it encourages you to seize the day and take advantage of life. The darker tones of the rest of the album are missing on this track as it is livelier than what came before it.
The next track is ‘Joy’ that actually carries some of the lighter guitar tones as the new ‘So Much Better’. This showcases the perfect placement of the new songs in the re-work of the album. The lighter vibes of the song continue with the lyrics and vocals. While this might not seem to be true at the start, as you listen to the vocals and lyrics, you are taken somewhere better. There is a sense of hope and resilience in this song.
‘Foot in Your Mouth’ has a very interesting opening that leads you to a very Brit-rock lyrical structure. The guitar lines act as a second voice that is wonderful to hear and complements the vocals. It also is an amazing display of musicality as the instruments are turned into voices of their own. This feels like one of the most raucous tracks on the album and has this vibe to it that drives you a little mad with the need to move.
The driving beats of the drum combined with the guitar on ‘Eight Times A Day’ is infectious. This leads you to equally engaging vocals that you will quickly start singing along to. The rising of the vocals for the chorus has this wonderful soaring quality that makes you smile. There is just something unbelievably fun about this track that you can’t get enough of.
‘Hoedown’ hits you with a great drum line in the opening before you are rocked by the guitars. There is a frenetic energy to this track that really gets your heart rate up. This song pumps you up even as it talks about going to a hoedown and getting torn down. The higher vocal lines add this thread to that works so well with the pulsing guitars and drums.
‘I Love Punk Rock’ is an ode to punk-rock in more than name alone. This is a two-and-a-half-minute lovefest of everything punk rock from driving guitars to punk vocals. It gets you energised in a different way to the previous single, but you will get an injection of energy that you might not know what to do with. The clapping and shouting of the track are enjoyable and you need to play this song at max volume.
The second new track on the album is ‘The Comedian’. The song was inspired by the character of Edward Blake from the graphic novel Watchmen and dives headfirst into despair. The lyrics highlight the feeling that many people have of losing control and not being able to change things regardless of what you do. The vibes of the last song do seem to carry over to this track with a lot of punk-rock elements hitting you.
The album ends with the title track ‘Ragnarok’ which has this amazing opening. The notes of the opening lead you to heavy vocals that rest in this interesting layer before they start pounding against you for the chorus. There is something apocalyptic about this track which makes sense considering the title. The chaos of these times is amazingly portrayed in the arrangement of this track as it swings from wailing guitars to growling vocals to higher tones.
If your ears need a punk-rock treat, take some time to listen to Ragnarok by The Fades. This re-work of their old album includes two new singles that seamlessly fit into the album. You will be engaged and have an ear pounding from start to finish.