Fueled By Ignorance

Wrinkle Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Boy, sometimes it doesn't pay to leave a CD sitting in the "to be reviewed" pile for too long. Once in a while, a "Spinal Tap"-like occurrence will happen, leaving the band that exists in real life different than what you've got to work with on the album.

Case in point: Canada's Fueled By Ignorance, whose eight-song debut Tears came out last year. (For the record, I've had it about two months, so it's not like I got it day-of-release and sat on it all this time.) Since this disc was cut, the band has lost bassist T. James (who died in a car crash almost a year ago), drummer Shawn Gairdner (or is he back? I can't tell the way the news is piecemealed together on the band's home page) and guitarist Adrian Castley. They've also left the label that Tears was released on, as well as their management company - I've heard of creative rebirth, but this is ridiculous.

It's a bit more ridiculous when you realize that Fueled By Ignorance, while still a young band with a lot of musical growth to still achieve, seemed to be onto something. While they didn't have quite the organization as other bands of their style (Tool, Korn), they do have the energy and the determination that comes through in the music, and that counts for a lot on this first effort.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

My biggest complaint with this disc is a common one: It's too short! The eight songs clock in at under a half-hour, leaving me curious about what this band is truly capable of. (Then again, Tool's first effort Opiate was the same way, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.)

As for the music, it's pretty good songwriting, and the performances are better than one would expect from a debut. The bass lines of James (Todd James Wickstrom) make you realize that his death was a big loss to this band. Gairdner's trap work is crisp, while Castley's guitar lines alternate between chopping leads and crunching rhythm riffs. Vocalist Simon Springer is not the strongest singer in this genre, but he more than makes up for any shortcomings with the intensity of his performances on Tears.

Tracks like "Gallstone," "Klutz" and "Crumbling" all slap the listener into submission, demonstrating that Fueled By Ignorance is more than capable of holding their own in a musical field that is starting to get crowded. What is special about the band is that they are able to carve their own niche without sounding like a carbon copy of their peers. I may make the Tool comparison, but thankfully, you won't hear a second rate Aenima performance.

Drawbacks? There are one or two - namely, it takes some time to really get into Fueled By Ignorance. "Unleash" is an okay track, but it doesn't immediately grab your attention until well over halfway through the song. Unfortunately, when you're an up-and-coming band fighting to get the attention of a new audience, you need to come out of the gate swinging, and Fueled By Ignorance doesn't quite do that... yet.

In a ssense, Fueled By Ignorance has a harder battle ahead of them because of all the upheaval in the band. Had the same lineup still been together today, they would have had a solid anchor in Tears to help them build the band into something stronger. However, with only one member from this recording session left, the band is almost back at square one. Nevertheless, Tears is a good, though flawed, effort that does make me interested in seeing where this band is going to go in the near future.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wrinkle Records, and is used for informational purposes only.