FEVER 333 – Strength in Numb333rs
This review has been a long time coming. The main reason is I wanted to fully digest this release, as this is a band that means a lot to me. From the first time I heard “We’re coming In,” I was hooked and knew this project was going to be something different and powerful. And boy was I right.
From the very beginning I was a fan, even before any music was released. The reason was the bands the three members were/are in. Guitarist Stephen Harrison was in The Chariot, a band I was a huge fan of and miss dearly. Drummer Aric Improta is in Night Verses, a band that should be better known, and Aric is one of the best drummers alive today. Then we have Jason Butler, formerly the vocalist of Letlive, a band that I thought ended too soon. “Thought” is the key word there. And you are about to find out why.
Punk rock has been my poison of choice for almost 20 years now. My love of punk rock started with Blink-182, but within a year of finding them I discovered “real punk rock” when I heard my first Bad Religion song, and that opened the door to more bands of the political side. I still listened to the poppy stuff, but it was the political bands that made the bigger impact on me. Bands like Bad Religion, The Clash, Anti-Flag, Refused, and Against Me. Over the years I got more into the poppier bands, and that became my choice of punk. I still listened to the other bands but not as often. Then a few years ago we as a country elected a new president, and my first thought after a few curse words was, “well at least punk rock will become good again.” And it has, actually music as a whole has seen more political records. Hip-hop is killing it right now. Anyways in 2017, Fever 333 showed up and set the scene on fire. Everything about them is punk rock.
Strength In Numb333rs begins with a recording that sounds like a protest or gathering, chanting 3, 3, 3. And at the end the reporter asks a man what he is there for, what is is it that they want the world to know. The man replies, “There is a muthafucking fever coming.” And from there it goes into the first song, “Burn It.” Earlier one of the words I mentioned to described this project was powerful. They don’t waste any time with that. The song starts with the lyric, “For all the homies, doing time, look alive. For every day your mama cried, look alive. When the five-o arrive, look alive. Everybody look alive.” Right out the gate, that’s what we get. Not only is that powerful but it’s hope. He is saying don’t give up, keep your head up, don’t let them see you down. Right now with the way our country, our world is, we all need that hope. I really like how he uses Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Rodney King, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in the chorus. All people that inspired and gave hope. The next track “Animal” is another one that stands out to me. This track is one that really shows how good of a writer Jason Butler is. He uses metaphors throughout the album. This song is about how we treat people and then in turn how they react to that—in this case how police brutality has been out of control for far too long. “One of Us” is easily one of my favorite tracks on the record. Basically it’s about how the government treats us all, especially young black men, and how we are the minority but if we all stand together we are the majority. There is something about the delivery of this song that makes me upset and sad at the same time. It makes me want to do better. It makes me want to make this world a better place. This ties into their triple-C philosophy: community, charity, and change. That’s what this band is about. If we can all focus on those things, the world would be better for all of us. “Inglewood/3” is one of those songs that just has all the feels. The first time I heard it, I had to stop what I was doing and just sit down and take it all in. The reality that things like this happens in this world is messed up. At one point he talks about how the hospital where he was born is across the street from a cemetery and how one day that’s the one he will end up. He uses the line, “in the hospital where I was born to die.” The feels. But before he gets there he talks about the struggles he went through in his life. From not seeing his dad to not been allowed to date a girl because of his skin color.
This album is full of songs about injustices in the world, and it’s good that they are been brought to light. Things don’t get better if we don’t talk about them. Fever 333 is more than just a band, it’s a movement, one that I am proud to be a part of. We all have to do better, and this record has re-lit that fire in me. This is punk rock in 2019!