With eight albums under their belts, a fully-formed rock legacy and an up and coming 20th anniversary there isn’t much that Foo Fighters haven’t done or at least tried to do. Foo Fighters fans around the world have been waiting four years for the follow-up to Wasting Light and for a band that sells out stadiums like Wembley in a matter of minutes, has a countless backlog of rock anthems like ‘Best of You’ and ‘All My Life’ and recorded the last album entirely on analogue there is a LOT to live up to.
So how did the biggest name in rock handle their epic return… by coming up with a concept that only Foo Fighters could take on, obviously. The ambitious journey sees them record in some of America’s biggest studios from New York’s Magic Shop (Ramones, Sonic Youth) to LA’s Rancho de la Luna (QOTSA, Arctic Monkeys) the Foo’s embark on a musical journey around America trying to scratch at the surface of some of America’s most prestigious genres. The task then, is without a doubt enormous, a beast that only Grohl could ever imagine taking on and the final product is a well-deserved try. However, at times the sheer enormity of what they tried to achieve does leave listeners feeling as though they haven’t quite lived up to the promise of what was perhaps an unachievable task. But, that said, fans will be glad to hear that although the album is not quite the epic record they were looking for the legendary sound of Foo Fighters can still be heard in tracks like ‘The Feast and The Famine’ and ‘What Did I Do?/God as My Witness’ and everything that the Foo Fighters have been doing over the past few years has indeed been leading to this mind-blowing comeback.
Produced by Butch Vig (Nevermind, Wasting Light) the overall sound of the album is near perfection with the familiar sound of Foo Fighters at every turn. The album starts with the lead single ‘Something From Nothing’ a stadium anthem that sounds very much like ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ the song is nothing-less than epic and has all the signature Foo sounds that any fan could want, including Dave Grohl’s signature roar heard in the chorus. The hard-rock overload of guitars can also be found in ‘The Feast and The Famine’ the second single released off the album. Highlights of the album come in the form of tracks like ‘What Did I Do?/God as My Witness’ which has Grohl take on softer vocals far removed from his usual growl and ends up being an infectious ballad on the record which you find yourself continuing to go back too. ‘Congregation’ is also a noteworthy song with heavy riffs and a strong influence of southern rock inspired from the recording process which took place in Nashville. A lot of the songs on the album like ‘Subterranean’ and ‘Outside’ sounded very comfortable for the Foo Fighters and can lead you to think that they haven’t really pushed their sound very far on this album, especially compared to the experimentation that was seen on ‘Wasting Light’. Although at times it can feel like they have bitten of more than they can chew, there isn’t really a truly awful song on the record and there is no doubt that you will find yourself listing to tracks over and over again.
Unfortunately, Grohl has claimed he will never do an album like this again. However we find it hard to believe that he will ever sit still and therefore look forward to the next big Foo Fighter’s project, and the surprises that they have in store for their 20th anniversary next year which will see them return to London on their upcoming UK tour.