Foghound’s third full-length Awaken to Destroy is a nastier beast than the band’s previous outings. In contrast to the more rock and roll attitude of their first two albums, it’s driven by slower tempos and meatier riff work. The fuzzy guitar tone, high-pitched workman’s yells, and rhythmic flourishes are enough to reassure us that it’s still the same band, but elements like the backing vocals and faster punk influence show a broadened sense of scope.
The approach does result in less hooky songwriting than The World Unseen, but there are plenty of memorable tracks on here. The title track starts things off on an appropriately thematic note with strong vocal trade-offs, and “Filthy” stands out thanks to an upbeat groove that lives up to the Clutch comparisons. Lead single “Keep on Shoveling” is another strong track that mixes a catchy vocal line with a mid-tempo beatdown riff set.
I also enjoy how the songs go off in a noticeably darker direction toward the end. The moody ballad format of “Staring Down the Demons” results in the album’s most interesting track, and the bass-driven psychedelics on “The Buzzard” wouldn’t have been out of place on The Obsessed’s most recent effort. The music isn’t a sob story by any means, but the writing process was undoubtedly shaped by bassist Jim Forrester’s struggles at the time and is even more haunting in the wake of his senseless passing.
Loss of innocence may be an overly dramatic tag for an album like Awaken to Destroy but Foghound isn’t as carefree as they used to be. The songwriting is less fun and immediate, but the widened palette works in the band’s favor as there’s enough swagger to keep it from getting out of hand and the writing is still great. It may take some extra time to absorb but Foghound has lived up to their word and will likely keep on shoveling for the foreseeable future. I can only imagine how much darker it could get from here…
“Awaken to Destroy”
“Keep on Shoveling”
“Staring Down the Demons”
R.I.P. Rev. Jim Forrester (December 5th, 1974-December 18th, 2017)