Fiddlehead - Death Is Nothing To Us (Cover Artwork)


Death Is Nothing To Us (2023)

Run for cover

It has been a while since a record impacted me this hard. I don't know if 'Death Is Nothing To Us' is objectively Fiddleheads 'best' record, or really anyone else's opinions on it yet. I've had the vinyl in my possession since Tuesday and have listened to it every day, probably over 30 times now (it's a relatively short record). On Wednesday I went and saw a doom metal show (Mizmor, and Unreqvited) with a friend, and the entire night all I was waiting for was to get back home to spin the record again. That wasn't because (literally) anything else is more appealing than a Wednesday night dive bar doom metal show - I just had the ending refrain from 'The Woes' burrowed into my brain.

As a fan of this band since the first LP this record is definitely a refinement and polish on their sound. They aren't treading new ground here but I think the musicianship and songwriting of these incredibly talented lads is on full display. The theme on this record is still an evolution of Pat processing the grief of his father, being a father himself now and the depression still surrounding him. Screaming the hooks of a Fiddlehead song always gave great catharsis but something about this record just feels so hopeful.

"The woe is me, the woe is you here in our rooms.
So walk with me and I’ll walk with you out of our doom."

You can really feel the progress Pat has made in processing his grief over the last 3 records. Some of the conclusions on love, loss, and depression really show someone healing and having made it through to 'the other side'. As someone (as I imagine many people) who relates to a lot of these same feelings and is always in the process of some kind of introspective mental work these records hit close to home. There are a bunch of callbacks and references to previous songs and lyrics as well as a couple returning archetypal characters (Loserman/Sadman/Loverman, Sullenboy/Joyboy) that represent himself and his son.

I mean I don't know the guy and I am not trying to get parasocial here. Pat seems like a dude healthily coping through a deep loss, who absolutely adores his wife and family, and really needs to scream about it. That's not often something you see in context of hardcore music. I mean minus the screaming about stuff part obviously.

Now will some people dislike this record for being too accessible or not really 'hardcore' anymore (ala turnstile, angel du$t, etc) - maybe? Like I said I think the musicianship is top notch here. Best it's ever been, but there are definitely some slower songs on the back half of this record. On my first listen I was worried that Pat was drawing out the length of his shouts (screams? notes?) too long but that went away as soon as I couldn't get them out of my head. I love that Pat and this band have a bit of exalted status in the scene. I see tons of kids at their shows and songs like 'True Hardcore (II)' are great influences on the next generation of bands.

Finally the rest of the media surrounding the record is incredibly well done. Alex (guitarist and the guy from Basement) hand paints their album art, and makes all of their inserts and directs and films their music videos, and I am sure a whole lot more. The guy is insanely talented and elevates the record to another level. Every part of it feels intentioned and inspired and with a very cohesive vision. Even reading the liner notes in the hand written Fiddlehead 'font' feels special.

Anyway I love this band, and they blew my expectations away on this record. Is it a better record than Between The Richness? Maybe? Probably not? I love that record too, but for what ever reason this one hit me deep. It gets 5 bags of popcorn and a little decoration fiddlehead plant from me.

P.S. did I mention this dude loves his wife? 'Fifteen To Infinity' is simply a perfect love song. Still can't get over it.