Sounding alternately like Rush on steroids and King Crimson on a pissed-off rampage, Foe — a British instrumental power trio with more chops than a karate class — comes out pounding on Arm Yourself With Clairvoyance, the band's 32-minute debut CD. Technical metal collides with abstract melodies while a dense rhythm section gives Foe an added dose of heaviness. The seven tracks here tend to get a tad monotonous, what with all that denseness, but there's still plenty to get excited about. Take the tribal urgency at the beginning of the bizarrely titled "Ted Parsons (And How to Live It)," the King's X excursions on "Wasp-eating Bulldog" and the brute strength of "Pick On God For a Good Laugh."
In order for an instrumental record to pass muster with me, it must make me forget that the music has no lyrics. (That said, some of these song titles scream out for lyrics.) But adhering to that credo, Foe is my new friend.
(Foe shows no signs of slowing down. Hot on the heels of Arm Yourself With Clairvoyance, The Combined Stupidity of Spiteful Men, a split CD with American Heritage and Art of Burning Water, is slated for release in November 2003, with a single-song EP cunningly called When You Carry A Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail expected in February 2004.)