Last updated on September 12, 2017
There’s two types of hard music to me: intelligent hard music and chugga chugga. There are many genres, but when I’m listening to hard music, the only thing of importance is that the band not be “chugga chugga.”
Futants’ album Pass the Butter never devolves into mindless loudness (or what I call “noise for the sake of noise”). Even though their sound is rooted in classic heavy metal and modern post-hardcore, they absorb enough from other genres to keep their songwriting fresh and tight. It’s a testament to the thoughtfulness of the band members that none of these songs get boring, nor does the album taper off. The songs hit one after another, without any being of particularly lower quality than the last.
After a passable but not astonishing opener, they establish that they are not a normal band on “Mutants with an F.” A sound clip from a campy horror movie gives way to cacophony: scratchy, screamed vocals; charging, grungy guitars; metallic bass notes; and pounding drums emerge full-formed. They drop into a groove of sorts, with two vocalists harmonizing in an off-kilter sort of way. They bring back the thundering section for the chorus, then set off in another direction. They deliver a half-time section; I would call it a breakdown, but it’s not heavy. It’s actually lighter than the rest of the song. It’s like the inverse of a breakdown.
The rest of the album continues is these motifs. Scratchy, frantic screamed vocals; warbling, weary sung vocals; hard-charging guitars; and a solid rhythm section all make the core of the songs solid. The changes of pace in tempo, songwriting direction and mood keep the interest. “And That’s OK” is a perfect example. A song with one of the quieter verses on the album gives way to one of the best riffs on the album and one of the loudest, most frantic sections of music on the album in the middle of the song. It’s a stand-out because it’s unforgettable.
“Money to Burn” has an excellent quiet section that makes the hard section feel that much heavier. One of the few missteps of the album comes on a ill-advised, careening vocal performance towards the middle of the song, but the instrumental quality of the first half of the song is strong enough to pass over the error.
If you’re a fan of intelligent hard music (like MeWithoutYou), songwriting in hard music, or just something unusual in hard music, Pass Me the Butter by Futants is highly recommended.