Fer De Lance, '2217'
Fer De Lance, '2217'
Special to Metromix
2217 is an album from St. Louis rockers Fer De Lance three and a half years in the making. Comprised of former members of Side Of Fives and Dark Water, Fer De Lance combines elements of rock, alternative, grunge and metal that comes across sounding huge on record. 2217 is their debut full-length and after listening to it once all the way through, you can hear why this album has been a long time coming.
2217 is one of the best sounding albums I have heard from a local rock group in a long time. Recorded at Suburban Pro Studios in St. Louis, one word describes the sound of this album: HUGE. The guitars are loud and fat and the drums are crisp, clean and big. I thought the vocals could have used a bit more depth and the bass lines could have punched a little harder. Those are my only two critiques production wise. Engineer Matt Sawicki is on top of his game and it shows.
I have to say I was quite surprised by Fer De Lance's sound on this record. I have known guitarist Jared Gleason, vocalist Jason Cole, guitarist Josh Hendrix and bassist Ricky Wicks from my early days in the STL music scene. Back then they were playing in bands that had a more straightforward rock sound and I expected to hear that influence. Instead Fer De Lance is MUCH harder. Cole has moved from a bassist position to a singer and gives his vocal cords a run for their money. His singing moments recall Doug Robb from Hoobastank both in sound and annunciation while his screaming (though powerful and impressive) sound like any run-of-the-mill screamo band. Hendrix made the move from behind a drum kit to a guitar. He and Gleason match perfectly in their riffs and rhythms though their respective guitar tones aren't very discernable from each other. Several of Gleason's main riffs on some of the songs still retain his grunge influence and are reminiscent of his writing with his previous band, Side Of Fives, which brought back fond memories for me. Drummer Wes Hastings is the perfect man for the job on drums. His chops are frantic yet controlled when needed and he milks his kit for everything it's worth. Ricky Wicks has moved from a frontman position to playing the 4-string. His basslines hold the band together and while I would've like to hear him get a little more complicated, he stands strong with his instrument.
The heavier songs on 2217 tend to get a bit repetitive and several times throughout the record I had to check my iPod to see if the track had changed or if it was another one of FDL's awkward (in a good way), fake-out breaks. Chunky guitars in dropped D build a foundation for Hastings' choppy drum work while Cole goes from scream to sing throughout. The songs are powerful and in your face and well arranged though and could definitely get a crowd on its feet. Fer De Lance's lighter moments show their versatility and come off quite pretty especially when highlighted by a string section or some sequencing. Standout tracks include "Last Night In Dreams", "The Vengeful", "The Landing", "Mission: Supernova" and "Left For Dead".
In the end, fans of heavier bands like Saosin and Breaking Benjamin should enjoy this album very much. Fans of local music in general should respect this album because of its production value and attention to detail, even if the music isn't necessarily your cup of tea. While the music is hard and somewhat dark in parts, the guys in Fer De Lance are some of the best dudes you'd ever want to meet and I am proud to share this music scene with them. After watching all of the members work their butts off with previous bands and continue to do so with Fer De Lance, I am confident that 2217 could very well bring them the attention they've been striving for.