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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Rage Against the Dying of the Light | “The Silence Beyond Life” by Fuming Mouth

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There is no way to properly emphasize the return of Fuming Mouth without knowing of guitarist and vocalist Mark Whelan, who survived the COVID-19 pandemic only to enter a battle with cancer. Years later, he would eventually win that battle. Erupting back into the live world of heavy music on Dec. 2, 2022, Fuming Mouth played their first set since Whelan entered remission. 

Their first recorded material since Whelan’s remission holds a 10 thousand pound riff accompanied by a contemplation on mortality as heavy as the guitar tone. The reverberating chugs that open the track are only enhanced by the rippling cymbal wash and kick drums that hit like a punch to the chest.

Whelan’s ever-versatile voice enters the fray in the form of a distinct wail that can only come from him. As the song trudges through the first verse, his abstract musings on loneliness capture the isolation of fighting — bedridden — for your life.

A gentle bridge brings us down just to bring us back up again, erupting into an unexpected and uncharacteristically melodic chorus. The general lack of melody in Fuming Mouth’s discography seems to have had no impact on their ability to instantly be masters at crafting a hook — a slow, doomy, depressing hook that feels like walking through wet concrete with equally heavy lyrics to match. 

I should’ve died /

When I had the chance to leave all of this behind /

I thought I died /

Fading into the light with the silence beyond life.”

Knowing the events of Whelan’s recent past, it is redundant to attempt to explain these lyrics: They speak entirely for themselves. After another repetition of the brilliantly constructed and performed chorus comes a fake-out ending in the middle of the song. Delicate cymbal taps fade closer and closer to near-silence, mirroring the ache of his lyrics — the desire to simply let it end. Instead, he does in his music what he has done in his life: He fights back and refuses to fade. His desperate wail interrupts the percussive lullaby: 

I’m all alone /

No one will come and help me out /

I’m on my own /

But I’m not dead yet, so I’ll keep trying.”

Notably missing from this track is a massive, down-tempo breakdown, which is fit for the sonic murder that Fuming Mouth has become known for. Its absence, however, is not missed due to the revelation of their melodic writing ability. The old Fuming Mouth was known for violence: The new Fuming Mouth will be defined by the drama and theatrics of their music, something that “The Silence Beyond Life” indicates will come easily to them. 

If there are two important points to be taken away from this track it is these: No matter how tempting or easy it feels to admit defeat and fade away, we must persist; and Fuming Mouth is here to stay.

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About the Contributor
Nick Sanchez, Airstaff Coach/Host of Thee Hourz O' Power
Nicholas Sanchez (he/him/his) is a senior at Michigan State University. He is the host of Thee Hourz O’ Power, the longest running specialty show at impact, as well as an airstaff coach for new DJs. He studies Journalism and has two minors in Film Studies and Documentary production. In the summer you can find him somewhere roaming his home state of California. In the winter you can find him under too many jackets, still adapting to Michigan winters. “I want money, I want love” -Militarie Gun

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