Album: Forces – EP
The world is filled with things far beyond our control—things we fight on a day to day basis to little or no avail. Best case scenario? We make it through another day, still pushing through, still fighting for the next day, and the one after, and the one after that.
Worst case? We succumb to something evil—something darker than the deepest and most forgotten corners of your mind. Those corners—blacker than night and more sinister than you can fathom—that is the type of stuff that Forces are made of. A young, talented band from Detroit, Forces have made monstrous leaps in the last 10 months, all without releasing much more than a single; and while “Indiscriminate Genocide” is monstrous in its own right, Forces’ name has spread like wildfire far and above what anyone might have otherwise expected—and believe me when I say it’s for good reason. The band’s debut EP is nothing short of a lesson in aggression, combining genres and styles sprawling from melodic and blackened death metal to slamming deathcore and beyond, Forces have dedicated their debut to hammer in the nails to monotony’s casket. The group sound as though they’re experienced beyond their years and are prodigally talented—a fatal combination which makes Forces’ breakout effort one that not only puts Detroit back on the heavy music map, but appeals to fans of just about any style of heavy music.
Forces is a collection of creative, crushing anthems crafted by cunning instrumentalists and relative prodigal masters of their craft. Even while the band is formed by members of previous acts, Forces is—well, a force—far beyond the sum of its respective parts. Percussionist Ronnie Pasquale finds himself at the helm of the band’s musical efforts, using everything from scathing blast beats and mind-numbingly fast feet on “Call of the Void” and “Emerging” to “Cease to Be,” a more mellow and gloomy cut that highlights Pasquale’s ability to use subtle fills and pocket work to serve as a scaffold for the melo-death-dusted leads and grooves from guitarists Ballas Berry and Jonathan Hegg. With Pasquale’s punishing pedalwork and fast hands as their engine, Berry and Hegg are the pissed-off octane that adds heft and aggression to every track (even “Cease to Be”) the band offer. “Emerging,” another barn-burner, takes on a bolder and more straightforward assault, just as the lead single, “Indiscriminate Genocide,” does—with Berry and Hegg shining throughout both, and bassist Maxx Brasch adding punch and density behind every chug, riff and shudder-inducing kick-drum smack. Every song Forces put forth with their debut effort is just a little different from the one before, further exemplifying that every member of the band is reaching far and away outside of the notion of a comfort zone in creating their debut effort. While “Cease to Be” is a somewhat more muted and subdued song, it also sees Brasch working more intimately with Hegg and Berry both—just as songs like “Emerging” or “Call of the Void” are sprawling adventures through deathcore, death metal—and all sorts of other tedious metallic subgenres—to provide a comprehensively heavy and creative experience that appeals to the instrumental inclinations of anyone into extreme music.
Even in spite of their excellent musicianship and dedication to scintillating, diverse songwriting, Forces have gained a huge portion of their notoriety due to the otherworldly voice of frontman Colton Head. Head’s shrill shrieks, ear-splitting screeches, raw and ruthless mid range yells and prolapse-inducing bellows ravage every second of the band’s debut effort, leaving the listener in a euphoric, disheveled haze. “Cease to Be” is an example of Head’s more moderate register, while “Emerging” and the band’s lead single, “Indiscriminate Genocide,” see his absurd high screams taking the lead. Just as each song takes on a different style (some are slight—others drastic), Head’s attitude and—for lack of a better word—vibe changes too, even while he maintains the same bottomless pool of energy and intensity. In short, I could keep throwing synonyms for high, low, heavy and talented at you, but you don’t need any more than that—because that’s exactly what Head’s voice is, and exactly what Forces are.
A furious amalgam of all that is heavy, Forces erupt into the heavy music scene with their first proper release, and, damn they do it well. While—for all the hype and anticipation—the group’s debut effort could stand one more track to give it a little more staying power, it’s a beast just as it is. Melodic, grim, technical, fast, heavy, pissed—you name it, Forces bring it, and they bring it by the boatload, making their breakout release one of the few releases you absolutely need to make yourself familiar with this year.
For Fans Of: Shadow of Intent, Signs of the Swarm, Lorna Shore, Ingested, Infant Annihilator
By: Connor Welsh