Do you like two-stepping to crazy basslines? Do you like acting up in the pit to some purely violent music? Are you an enthusiast of blowing the subwoofer in your car? If so, Fox Lake’s new EP Fear and Loathing, released on June 16th, has everything you are looking for. While nu-metal is having a massive resurgence in the scene, Fox Lake offers something new in the vein of nu-hardcore.
The first thing to stick out on “Higher”, the opener, is the track contains the hardcore genre’s patented chaos but controlled with the guitars mapped like beats to a trap song rather than the usual chugs. Rather than a Linkin Park-successor, Fox Lake seems to lean into a more Rage Against the Machine influence with their cadence and choice of pointed political lyrics. A modern successor with downtuned guitars, breakdowns, and panic chords. They wear this hip-hop influence on their sleeve with intricate and groovy bass being the main driver of every song.
On “Gaslight” they go full drill and it is glorious to hear. Through previous tracks they offered glimpses but they leaned completely into the genre for a verse and it was payoff worth listening to. The track also features Paleface Swiss, a band quickly climbing to the top of the hardcore genre. This feature offers a disgustingly heavy vibe to the later half of the song. This is one of multiple tracks on the EP that will lead to brain damage in the pit. It is this push-and-pull that truly defines Fox Lake’s sound. One moment will be pure violence and then they slow it down to a groovy bass line with a hip-hop cadence before speeding back up. It makes every breakdown and every large moment feel massive.
We get a brief respite on the interlude track, “36.1716° N, 115.1391° W”. This interlude is fun to listen to and gives a brief ode to early-Linkin Park before the carnage to come on “Hammer and Nail”. “Hammer and Nail” is probably the most two-step worthy song on this release with an intoxicatingly fun bass line while still providing pure brutality with the feature of Like Moths to Flames; leaning a bit further into metalcore while still sounding definitively Fox Lake.
If you have not gotten your fill of violence yet, “Blood Machine” has you covered. The song seems to follow the Gideon formula of every other line being its own breakdown. I can foresee numerous lyrics of this track being worthy of fans grabbing the mic, including one of my favorite pit call-outs of all time, “It made me sick”. Another pit call-out I must mention is the “It’s not real until you hear that…” on “Dog Eat Dog”. Becoming experts of turning people violent is a necessity in the hardcore scene and Fox Lake are masters.
With “Fear and Loathing”, Fox Lake rides the wave of hardcore’s resurgence, boosted by bands like Knocked Loose and Turnstile, while offering something unique. Their pointed and angry lyrics in addition to the push-pull nature of tempos and styles makes something definitive to only Fox Lake. The hardcore genre is known for “caveman riffs” and violence for the sake of violence. However, “Fear and Loathing” is something much more intentional and innovative and I look forward to hearing what they come out with next.