January 19, 2022

This album was originally released by melodic heavy rockers FULC in 2005, to a considerable raft of critical acclaim. It’s recently been re-released as part of a broader “revisiting exercise” by Stunted Records. Embrace.Destroy was FULC’s second album, following hot on the heels of their much lauded debut Biting Insomnia, released in 2003. Sadly, shortly after the release, various different personal circumstances led to a hiatus which the band never quite resolved sufficiently to write and perform again, so this is a poignant reminder of what might have been.

Fulc were:
Rik Clay (guitars, synths); Duane Walker (vocals, guitar);
Mark Cooke (drums, samples); Kris Kilmore (bass)

Scunthorpe born and subsequently Leeds-based FULC played scuzzy, edgy, post-rock with a melodic twist – the perfect “wake up” antidote to much of the bland uninspired music that abundant at the start of the new millennium. FULC became renowned for their livewire stage shows which were a mix of full on headline dates coupled with national support slots for the likes of Kinesis and Martin Grech. The band recorded their debut EP The Fallen in 2002 at Sawmills Studios in Cornwall, following in the footsteps of Muse, Oasis, Supergrass etc. They promoted this with 55 gigs between July and December! They received excellent reviews, the highlight being a twin live review and “Rising” feature in Kerrang magazine in October that year.

Never ones to stand still, FULC returned to Sawmills in January 2003 to record their debut full-length album Biting Insomnia, with another 50 date tour promoting. Again great reviews ensued followed by a further 20 dates – these guys just loved playing live! They subsequently featured on BBC Radio 1’s One Music programme, and were No.1 in the “Lock Up” chart for 6 months before being personally selected by Mary Anne Hobbs to perform at a Radio One Rock Show event in Leeds in June. Mike Davies ( R1 DJ ) described FULC’s song “Nest” as “Fantastic – Fulc have got subtlety down to a fine art,”Nest” rocks in all the right places without thrusting itself in your face. This is both melodic and bowel-shakingly heavy and will have rock fans creaming themselves to catch them perform live”.

FULC supported Vendetta Red, Span, Agnostic Front, Skindred, Fony, Vacant Stare, Spear of Destiny, Kinesis, Martin Grech, Oceansize, The Darkness, Violent Delight and This Girl before headlining the second stage at the 2003 Bloodstock Festival in Derby, alongside Saxon and Paradise Lost on the main stage. Another 30 gigs followed in 2004 before recording this, what transpired to be their final album at The Chapel in October 2004, followed by promotional tours of Germany and the UK in 2005. At the time, it received much critical acclaim in the UK and Germany….

On this EP/LP we have six tracks to ponder what might have been, the first being the title track. It hits me as a sort of pacey blend of Radiohead, Linkin Park, 30 Seconds To Mars, and maybe early (before they went naff!) Muse. Duane’s vocals are awesomely passionate, the lyrics eloquently well-written, a great riff and a tight rhythm section – what a start! Owes Nothing is next, with a duet of a kind between Duane and Rik – again a trademark spikiness runs through what is a punchy yet melodic song – the parallels with Linkin Park and their shared abilities to be in your face, impassioned, yet always controlled, tuneful, melodic, are striking!

Wasting was released as a single and official video (see below), it relentlessly continues that juggernaut pace, jagged guitar-work, impassioned but controlled vocals – Duane was ten-tenths on the richter scale with his singing without ever succumbing to howling – this is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and hangs it on his microphone! System comes in with a gentler intro, again a touch of Radiohead in their reflective moments. Its a lovely composition, veering superbly from the melody of the verses into the onslaught of the chorus – a great track! It then flows seamlessly into Pedestal, a nervy, edgy, thoroughly unsettling track, it’s quite emotionally draining, along the lines of Rage Against The Machine. I almost forgot to breathe during this!

And then we have the album’s closer, Entrapment, yet another powerful slab of modern, impassioned, heavy rock or post-rock. It thunders along towards the end, Duane’s lyrics are scarily sharp, honed to a razor’s edge, delivered full-on by his imploring voice and underpinned by yet more punchy but tuneful guitar work.

In retrospect, this album is thoroughly contemporary in its mix, production and general sound – it’s a whopper of a “six-some”, there’s more energy, emotion and angst in the 25 minutes here than most full-length albums. Heartily recommended, its never too late to discover or re-discover new music that moves you – I for one am delighted to have done!