Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Review: Forge - Bring On The Apocalypse (2003)

Bring On The Apocalypse
Static Records

Forge have been bustin' ass in the Detroit music scene for several years, releasing a couple of albums in the late '90s and weathering a series of line-up changes. Founded by cousins Aaron and Steve Greene, the band blends classic metal hallmarks with modern aggressiveness and a slightly punk attitude to create a sonic cocktail sure to please any lover of heavy music, regardless of "genre".

The appropriately titled Bring On The Apocalypse is Forge's third studio full-length. Singing about subjects ranging from war to sci-fi, Aaron's gritty vocal style relays feelings of smoldering anger and sense of purpose. Album opener and highlight "The Fold" sets the pace with a driving riff that brings to mind old-school thrash masters such as Anthrax and Exodus. Right away the band displays their knack for blending modern and classic elements to create refreshing metal as the listener is treated to Aaron's euphonious shouts while the rhythm section of drummer JoeSmith and bass player Steve Greene changes pace for the Offspring-like choral passages. A flickering guitar lead from John Dearry heralds the beginning of "One Swift Motion". Ripe with time changes, the song has a slight Killing Joke feel. Aaron's impassioned singing, encompassing several tones, is the focal point of this track. "The Torch" kicks in with a dual-guitar riff that oozes classic metal. Aaron seems a little strained while tackling the upbeat anthemic lyrics, which are sung at a higher range than most of the album, but he still turns in a fine performance and the song is considered one of the many bright points of Bring On The Apocalypse. Sticking with the classic metal riffage, "Days Of Destruction" pummels with driving bass and well-executed guitar leads straight out of the '80s. With a more modern approach, "6.6.44" tells a first-person tale of D-Day. A catchy chorus, varied tempos, and the Steve Harris-like bass from Steve Greene make this one of the more memorable tracks on the disc. My favorite song, however, is "Parade Of The Forgotten". A thundering drum/bass beat blasts from the speakers as Dearry's guitar weaves an intricate lead, all serving as an introduction for Aaron's relation of a conversation with an old veteran of wars long gone. Fictional or not, the lyrics strike a chord with me. Not only because I am a veteran myself of Desert Storm, but because the words manage to capture the essence of those who have served and now have handed the banner to today's men and women in uniform. The song does not drip with patriotism, and is certainly not an anthem. It is, however, a recognition of those who have sacrificed, and more to the point, those that still do even though they no longer wear a uniform.

Forge have crafted a well-thought, tightly executed album encompassing the best of classic and modern metal styles. Every song on Bring On The Apocalypse contains some element that sets it apart from the others. Whether it be the aggressive riffs of "Defenseless" or the sinister guitar intro of "Mastermind", the listener is never left feeling as if they're wading through filler until the next stand-out song comes along. This is an album that can please both the metal purists and those enraptured by today's made-for-radio metal.

Track Listing
1The Fold
2One Swift Motion
3The Torch
4Bring On The Apocalypse
6Days Of Destruction
8Secret Mines
9Parade Of The Forgotten

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