A great tradition among the Canadian weirdo punk outfit Fucked Up is their ‘Zodiac Series’. Since 2006, and with a few gaps throughout the years, the band has released a song for the respective year on the Zodiac calendar. It might currently be the year of the Ox, but the songs don’t always line up with the year, as evidenced by the band’s new release, ‘Year of the Horse’.
The first three minutes are a slow build, featuring Maegan Brooks Mills’ melodic voice contrasting the usually aggravated punk of Fucked Up. That said, it’s only a matter of time before singer Damian Abraham swoops in and devours everything in sight with a vocal that sounds like he’s eating nails and spewing hellfire. The 22-minute-long saga truly has something for everyone: melodic metal-inspired passages, calm piano reprises, twin lead guitar, densely poetic lyrics about spite filled with religious allegories, and even The National’s Matt Berninger. If ever the word “epic” was saved for a specific song, this would be it.
Instead of taking you down an entire history of the Chinese Zodiac, which would take multiple PHD’s/hours of research that I don’t have, let’s just look at the comparatively brief history of Fucked Up’s association with the Zodiac. Their first release to coincide with the Chinese New Year, 2006’s ‘Year of the Dog’. After that, the band would usually release a song on/around the Chinese New Year to commemorate the previous year. They’ve gone through the years of the Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Dragon, Hare, and Snake. Now all that is left are Goat, Donkey, and Rooster. It’s far beyond a gimmick at this point: it’s an intrinsic component of the band.
The latest offering is actually split up into four different acts, which they themselves are broken up into different scenes. Fucked Up has gone full prog-rock on our sorry asses. ‘Year of the Horse’ will be released as a full album, and the total run time for the concept will likely total well past an hour.
To prepare, listen to Part Three down below.