AOTY 2020
Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death
Critic Score
Based on 32 reviews
2020 Ratings: #133 / 770
Year End Rank: #12
User Score
Based on 781 ratings
2020 Ratings: #65
Liked by 64 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Q Magazine

Rather than succumb to difficult second album syndrome, Fontaines D.C. have emerged frontrunners in an already filed of vital, important young bands. A Hero's Death is a resounding victory.

100
The Guardian
With poetry suffusing both lyrics and music, Fontaines DC capture being young in all its excitement and challenges, its confidence and despair: those years where it feels like you’re trying to find a foothold with your hands. It’s not easy, but then what great album, or life, ever is?
100
musicOMH

Shunning a tried-and-tested formula to focus on evolution and experimentation is always a massive risk. But by choosing to embrace their calmer, and often much darker side, the Dubliners could well have given us their masterpiece.

90
Clash
Subversive, non-conformist and melodious, this record has the credentials of a classic rock and roll album. The decision to take a radical approach only works for the few, the possession of ammunition that’s needed to master such a challenge is not for anyone. Fontaines D.C. have it, and it seems as though they are only just scratching the surface of what’s to come...
90
Gigwise

A Hero’s Death is a serious and rare achievement, particularly from a band that could have satisfied everyone with more of the same, and instead chose to evolve.

90
DIY
An unexpected move, perhaps, but a deft and accomplished one all the same, this is a second album that builds upon the foundations they’ve laid so far and opens up their world to all manner of possibilities.
90
God Is in the TV
Maybe listening to this record under canvas is the best place to absorb it. Something about the half-light, the great outdoors, the crap outdoors, that feeling you may just rather be somewhere else now.
85
The Line of Best Fit
This is a powerful, brave and endlessly rewarding album made by a band who have risked it all to make a giant leap towards fulfilling their potential.
85
Northern Transmissions

A Hero’s Death is a moodier, broodier pivot from their blustering 2019 debut, Dogrel. The band know the change might turn away some fans, and they’re okay with it; they’re okay being the hero in “A Hero’s Death.”

81
Pitchfork
Heady, funny, and fearless, the Dublin band’s second album is a maudlin and manic triumph, a horror movie shot as comedy, equal parts future-shocked and handcuffed to history.
81
Paste

After making such a peppy, instant classic debut, they weren’t intimidated by the thought of a Sunday stroll album, and they reached newfound emotional and sonic heights in making one.

80
Uncut
Introspective and tightly wound.
80
Mojo
It's darker and more complex than their debut, but also bigger-sounding.
80
Classic Rock

The title track is the album's keynote, an open letter from father to child advising them on noble living, and a jubilantly noisy address that elevates Fontaines to being among our most profound and important new bands.

80
NME
Usually, when a band follows up their lauded, hype-building debut album in lightning-fast time, they do so to capitalise on the buzz and double down on any early promise. Fontaines D.C.‘s second album, the tense, often morose ‘A Hero’s Death’, feels like the antithesis of this approach.
80
The Independent
The Irish band aren’t scared of admitting their own insecurities on this impressive follow-up to their Mercury Prize-shortlisted debut.
80
The Arts Desk

Though they were determined not to do more of the same, it’s still unmistakably them – all bodacious repetition, lilting brogue.

80
The Sydney Morning Herald

This record is about going out into the world and then going deep inside yourself to try to make sense of everything.

80
Exclaim!

The propulsive spark that lit their debut lingers, keeping the record from drifting off into malaise.  There a certainty to their uncertainty. They embrace ambiguity. Fontaines D.C. might be unsure of what they want, but they damn well know what they don't when they see it.

80
Spill Magazine

Reminiscent of early Interpol but with the guitars tuned down perhaps, A Hero’s Death is an album that is unafraid to look life in the eyes, but by the time life has looked back, finds itself looking at eyes that have now turned downcast, not out of fear but perhaps resignation.

80
FLOOD Magazine

On their new album, A Hero’s Death, the band scratch at every itch and pick at every scab they’ve developed during their arduous last twelve months, the uglier the better.

73
Beats Per Minute

It might work best if viewed as a companion piece to Dogrel, played immediately after.

70
Loud and Quiet

Ultimately, A Hero’s Death can be defined by the title track and its definite list of rules for self-prescribed happiness. Though faced by much bloated expectation, its surreal mantra for success is a convincing argument that this is a band hellbent on delivering on the hype, rather than succumbing to it.

70
PopMatters

Fontaines D.C.'s A Hero's Death is the follow-up to the acclaimed Dogrel, and it features some of their best work -- alongside some of their most generic.

70
Rolling Stone

After turning heads on their debut, Dogrel, last year, the post-punks flirt with psychedelia and echoey guitar while their singer stands his ground.

70
AllMusic

Setting a high bar on a debut album has always been a double-edged sword, as demonstrated here on A Hero's Death, which is a fine album that is nonetheless a step down from the booze-soaked sticky floors of Dogrel.

70
No Ripcord
In taking some chances, Fontaines D.C. channel a more complex musical dynamic: willing to experiment, but more streamlined, indebted to punk ferocity but close enough to pop song forms. And it mostly works, though the mixture of Chatten's weary attitudes coupled with the album's percussive and rhythmic uniformity sometimes implies a lack of thought.
70
Under The Radar

It is missing the stable spine that gave the band’s earlier work such distinctive character, and their repetitious, two-dimensional songs bring the overall package down. Still, when the band is at its best, Fontaines D.C. delivers an irresistible cocktail of post-punk storytelling.

70
Spectrum Culture

Less of an immediate sensation as the group’s debut, A Hero’s Death nonetheless cements the group as one of the most exciting rock bands to emerge in an age.

60
Upset

Production elements add a value that confirms these boys from the better land don’t need to pander to crowd swelling bangers akin to previous outings, instead, they’re ready to be the band that put noise to feeling. Though some singalong moments wouldn’t go amiss.

60
Dork
There's still a lot to love, but it sounds like the band could do with a decent night's sleep and a couple of shots of caffeine before they think about album number three.
40
The Needle Drop

As far as modern post-punk goes, A Hero's Death is disappointingly run-of-the-mill.

Doublez
82
In the middle of the rush, the dubliners brilliantly managed to come up with another album in a short space of time that was just as punchy but particularly different. If Dogrel staged the scenery and the context, A Hero's Death is a deeper and more sophisticated work on several layers, focusing on something more abstract and mysterious.

Founded only 3 years ago, everything goes so fast for Fontaines D.C. Yet the band doesn't skip steps, on the contrary the band faces them determinedly, with ... read more
Doofy
92
If I told you a band’s sophomore album proved that they’d used up all their catchiest song ideas, all their most instant melodies and all their debut exuberance on the first record you’d probably surmise that this second release must’ve ended up a disappointment. Well dear reader, that all depends on what the band were left to work with.

In the case of Fontaines D.C. what remained was a soulful quality that was always there in the background on ‘Dogrel’ but ... read more
PipePanic
73
If there's something that 2020 was missing out on, it was Depression!

Fontaines D.C. are a group that I absolutely love what they have put out, including the in your face and fun as hell debut record 'Dogrel' that feels like if Joy Division was made in the modern age. They make post punk music for kids to both cry and punch walls to, and by god do they do it well. So, to say I was excited for this new album was an understatement! I was so goddamn hyped for this thing!

However, I did have my ... read more
zachthesnack
86
Fontaine’s D.C. are one of my absolute favorite newcomers on the music circuit as of late. Their debut record from last year was one of the years’ best and brought a fresh sound and energy to one of my favorite genres in post-punk.

These guys are just so good at structuring really fun and interesting tracks together. The poignant lyrics featured on many of their tracks are a huge highlight as well. Tracks like “I Don’t Belong” “You Said” and ... read more
JacksonLerner
91
a moody, depressive art achievement w/ spring-time feeling of calm upsetting the nervous wreck panic attack feeling lingering in the background

somehow, it’s a total 180; Fontaines’ remind me of King Krule (@‘Sunny’); ‘a hero’s death’ is what Fontaines D.C. will be known for.

immersive post punk that’s invigoratingly fresh, fantano is quite wrong with his rating
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Track List

  1. I Don't Belong
  2. Love Is The Main Thing
  3. Televised Mind
  4. A Lucid Dream
  5. You Said
  6. Oh Such A Spring
  7. A Hero's Death
  8. Living In America
  9. I Was Not Born
  10. Sunny
  11. No
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Added on: May 5, 2020