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F29 – F29 Award winner

F29
F29
by Daphne Minks Daly at 27 January 2021, 6:13 PM

Released on the newly formed Bandcamp label, Atomic Zombie Records, F29 is the latest project by vocalist and self-described multi-instrumentalist Derek Neibarger. Written and recorded in his home studio, Sinister Sounds, Neibarger wrote all of the music and lyrics while also performing all the instrumentation on this doom metal album.

Derek Neibarger's project, GODLESS ANGEL, started in 2012 and quickly gained widespread recognition in death and thrash metal circles. The artist behind F29 began his musical journey as a bassist and vocalist, playing in bands of various genres, including punk, metal, blues, and indie rock. After recording and performing for eighteen years, he decided to focus solely on his one-person projects, such as F29.

“Toxic, the album's opener, sets the bar high with powerful classic rock distortion and grim reverberating bass. Doom metal influences combined with a heart of sludgecore, F29 makes excellent use of every nuance available. The mix is phenomenal, with traditional thrash metal vocal stylings and new wave British heavy metal style guitar coursing through this song's veins.

A masterpiece like “Toxic” is the perfect pre-cursor to “The End of Everything, a song that seduces the senses from the first notes. Sultry, spaced-out vocals float between well-placed style change-ups, adding groove metal and classic heavy metal to the foray. The drum work is impeccable on this track and indeed showcases Neibarger's capabilities. Foreboding with a genuine sense of groove-gloom, “The End of Everything” is an intense power-ride that leaves its passenger amped and ready for more.

The third track, “Ghosting the Apocalypse, is the favorite for this reviewer. Leaving nothing on the table when it comes to paying homage to real midwestern American metal, this track has it all. Thick, thrashy distorted vocals collide with brilliantly written lyrics and impressively well-executed tempo change-ups in a battle of composition that's fascinating to listen to.

Defying expectation, F29 adds a shot of doom right in the g-spot of this masterpiece, adding an extra layer of perfectly placed sludgy, filthy groove. A favorite for this reviewer, “Ghosting the Apocalypse” keeps the listener guessing with full-bodied, symphonic power melodies and heavy-hitting elements from a host of heavy metal genres. This track is a right and proper juxtaposition of composition.

A close second for a favorite on the album is track five, "Born and Raised, Dead and Buried." Southern thrash leads the way on this odious ode to classic metal stylings. Dirty, thumping bass and sludge-metal drums push the characteristic classic death-metal vocals to this track's forefront. This track is unexpected, and although full of change-ups, the tune's complexities never become overwhelming or annoying.

Closing out F29's self-titled album is the soon-to-be stoner metal classic, “Cast My Ashes. An epic testament to the power of multiple influences, this track surges and seethes with wicked imagery and untamed, angst-ridden vocals. Chugging along until the very end, it is the perfect ending track for an album rich with character.

F29 pulls off the near-impossible by utilizing heavily charged influences from eighties and nineties' metal without ever becoming abrasive, sloppy, or dated. F29's self-titled album is an exploratory adventure that never gets old. With such a diverse sound, F29 will be a post-virus live show this reviewer won't miss.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability:  8
Production:  9

 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Toxic
2. The End of Everything
3. Ghosting the Apocalypse
4. The Abyss
5. Born and Raised, Dead and Buried
6. Winter is Coming
7. My Downward Spiral
8. Cast My Ashes
Lineup:
Derek Neibarger – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Drums
Record Label: Atomic Zombie Records
     


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Edited 27 February 2021
 

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