Forged in Black although formed in 2013 have actually got a bit of history behind them; 2013 being a watershed moment for them. A change in sound and a more focussed plan for the future led them to change their name from Merciless Fail to Forged in Black. An LP and an EP later they have found themselves at the Fear Reflecting Fear EP. What is very apparent with this EP is what a skilled and powerful band Forged in Black are. They cite Judas Priest and Helloween as influences, I would also add Dio into that mix. Often here at Moshville Times we get bumph stating that a band are classic metal or New Wave of British Heavy Metal but this is the first band that I have heard in recent times that really fit into that mould. If you love that classic British metal sound, I promise you are going to love the Fear Reflecting Fear EP.
So what is it that makes this band stand out above others of this style? I would have to say that it is primarily vocalist Chrisa ‘Stoz’ Storozynski’s vocals. His style has that slightly operatic edge, that was common in the late 70’s and early 80’s but not seen much beyond power metal bands these days. They are clear, distinct and really stand out. On opening track “1000 Wings” they are played to the forefront of the song, sounding slightly Helloweenish at times and it instantly showcases the range, strength and signature of his voice. The band themselves play to these strengths, it’s a low build up, with a mid-almost pop 80’s sounding funk bass and drums slowly being joined by a guitar building up the atmosphere before the vocals break in. The band are in no way overshadowed by these vocals though, producing a pretty impressive sound, with plenty of riffs and atmosphere.
It is the second and title track on the EP that really stood out for me. It starts with an orchestrated dark doom like atmosphere, sounds of metal being hit and brooding harmonies. It continues this doom style as the full band kick in. A great introduction to a brilliant song. In some ways it is almost predictable but more it is as if the band know what it is you want from this song and they deliver. When the vocals bang in, it is with great soaring vocals and energy. Honestly, the band do not put a note wrong in this song, in the verses the good doom tempo is maintained, screeching guitar riffs come in and out, the drums and bass pound where needed. The vocals soar and are backed up with some anguished growls. This is a doom/power metal crossover at its best, yet still with whiffs of Helloween at their most pompous.
“Renegades of the Last Rites” is a riff based bonanza, slightly akin to early Maiden at times with the vocals but the introduction of slightly thrash style vocals and growls adds a new dimension to the song. It has Maiden’s catchiness and infections but still remains distinctly their own track. Throughout the track and indeed the EP the drums provide a quite distinct backdrop with plenty of use of cymbals cutting through the rest of the band. This is not overdone and provides a stark contrast to the rest of the sound of the band. The bass and drums are a tight unit and this really pays off in the overall finish.
Final track “Shadows Still Remain” has a strong 80’s sound. Again, the overtone of the song is dark and creates an image where monsters roam free and hide in the shadows whether in reality or in your mind. I like the slightly paranoid feel to this song, it feels tight and claustrophobic.
Overall this EP provides an excellent introduction to band that may have taken its influences from the past but they have managed to bring this whole genre a new breath of life through their constant riffing, doom laden dark atmosphere, fantastic operatic soaring vocals and a tight rhythm which provides the backbone. I look forward to seeing a new LP very soon. A band to watch if you love classic, doom-laden power metal.
The band have also just announced the addition of guitarist Chris Bone to the band, and will play an EP release show on the 29th at Chinnery’s, Southend.
Fear Reflecting Fear is out on April 29th.