Forged In Flame
posted on 8/2008 By:
You need listen no further than the fittingly titled opening track, "Miss Mothership", for a number of reasons (but by all means, go ahead). For one, it's kinda unbelievable that this Cleveland quintet is still unsigned, I mean I know they're fresh faces, but that hasn't stopped the machine from consuming at conception these days with little regard for worthiness, and their brand of quasi-metal is slightly refreshing and professionally performed, so they're just asking for it. This track in particular fires on all cylinders, shows them throwing punches and taking them, and is probably the definitive Forged In Flame song as far as I can tell. For two, it's what works with them and against them when they call themselves a Clutch/Mastodon/Down hybrid with "70s progressive, 80s thrash, and current stoner rock" tendencies. Overall, as with "Miss Mothership", they're more Clutch than Mastodon, with hardly a Down, but still not excessively Clutchy. No Down booooozy blues. No bullet-riddled thrash attack. A hint of Mastodon's curves and angles, and they're surely frontin' like they can carry around the XL size cojones that Clutch have been ridin' with for a long time now (this is an admirable trait). Allow me to translate some other things for you: "70s progressive" equals guitars through a wah-wah pedal, and "70s progressive" also equals the occasional reverberating and phased out vocal effect. That tag does not equal musical voyeurism. There is not much experimenting to be found, aside from them experimenting with their own talents (the drummer did time in a solid tech-grind outfit from several years back called Forever Untouched). So....."80s thrash"? That must be what they call that stuff stuck in the cracks between the "current stoner rock" vibe vibing all over this, but really it ain't. They manage to give some of the bridges and segues on this EP shots of testosterone, but don't get it twisted. These four songs are electric and alive with a charged up soiled swing, dancing dirty in a leather pants atmosphere somewhere South of wherever you call North. Maybe that's what they meant. Now call that what you may, but I may call it "Mindfunk courting The Cult". I fucking love Mindfunk's self-titled album (laugh it up) and anything that remotely resembles the crunch and fun of that album is a friend of mine. The strong pipes in Gary Kane's vocal box bring to mind a phlegmy Ian Astbury (hence the Cult reference), and this right here sounds like he's fronting an inebriated click of real metal fans that feel the need to get in touch with their inner bourbon.
And so they did. And then they played it with conviction. And they recorded it like they had something to prove. But they had written it......in favor of an ending, unfortunately. All four tunes walk to the same beat. Albeit they walk hard, but considering that they only had twenty minutes to show the world, I wish that they could have showed more climbing higher, more falling harder. There's not enough variation on this lil' slab to warrant repeated listens too often. I said too often. Which means that I'll come back around.
Forged In Flame are an ideal listen for a ride downhill in a Ford F150. Roots muddy roots.
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