A few years ago, in an interview with Frank Iero, he was asked how he decides on the names for his projects each album. Candidly he explained that his solo projects have ‘no rules’ and that he picked out previous names based on what he felt he needed at the time. It may be hard to figure what Iero would ever need Future Violents for but that is the name he chose to spearhead the release of new album ‘Barriers’.
Barriers is the highly anticipated release from Iero that follows 2016’s Parachutes. An EP followed shortly after but in terms of wholly original music, it’s been a good three years and fans had been left salivating for more. The album is off to a great start with previously released ‘Young and Doomed’ and hits on that side of relatable with many who listen to his music; “I’m classically sad and inclined to get mad.”
Fever Dream starts like a fit of anger masked with a smile. Iero’s vocals are guttural, raw and a perfect pre-cursor to the gritty guitar to follow. It presses into the versatility of Iero as an artist, who’s longstanding career in the industry becomes clear in each key change and unabashed desire to do whatever the hell he wants with his art. It works exponentially as Fever Dream is one of the most standout tracks on the album.
Some of the sounds on Barriers seem to harken back to punk rock of the early 2000’s and even gives vibe akin to the sounds of Against Me! This is something that can be heard in Basement Eyes and it’s certainly not a bad thing, though it may be something to note that it’s an acquired taste.
Ode To Destruction almost starts out like a funeral march, a melancholy hymn that is interrupted by a barrage of guitar that closer matches Iero’s vocals. It softens again, closer to the end, just enough to hear the clear rendition of; “here’s to those that wish us well, the rest can go to hell.” Iero hangs onto that softness for a little longer as he moves into The Unfortunate. The range on the album is something to marvel at, while it would have been easy to stick to one sound, Iero offers up something truly different on almost every song – this is clear just as the song switches to Moto Pop, which seems worlds away musically from the previous track.
There’s an undeniable angst ladened within each track that darkens even the softest of sounds; “I hope it never gets better,” ends Great Party and teeters into a sad reality. It’s then followed by yet another standout track, Six Feet Down Under that hears Iero insist listeners ‘respect his fears’ and sings; “This life is like doing time when you’re dead inside… I don’t want to hurt no more, I don’t want to feel like before…”
As a whole, Barriers is stunning in it’s own right but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. There’s certainly something to admire in the artistic choices, however, especially in the lyrics. As you navigate throughout the album, it’s truly the range and the lyrics that make Barriers such a work of art.