Forevers’ Fallen Grace – Ascending the Monolith (Self Released)Sunday, 1st February 2015
The power of metal never dies – especially in the hearts and minds of those who make the commitment as the old WCW wrestling crew the N.W.O. said ‘for life’. Take southeastern Massachusetts metal act Forevers’ Fallen Grace – writing, recording, and self-financing their fifth full-length album since 1999, regardless of what appears cool, hip, or commercially acceptable in the genre today. Firmly encapsulating a wide swath of epic, power, progressive, and sometimes extreme influences into their sound, Ascending the Monolith aims to bring the quintet beyond New England’s fertile scene and into international horizons.
Melody and harmony play a major role in instant appeal to tracks like “Suffer Our Sins” or “Crown the Night” – the chord progressions and tempo supporting immediate audience participation whether alone in the car or full volume at one of their live shows. Heed the metal credo espoused in “Iron Will”, as vocalist Michael Ferro shouts out ‘destroying with sound/sharp as a knife’ while guitarists Ken McKee and Nelson Moore spit out a bevy of lead break tricks and dual harmony runs to support the cause. It’s difficult to pin FFG into one particular category – some of their influences come from older bands such as Mercyful Fate and Iron Maiden, while others are more modern in a Blind Guardian or Nevermore style – then you have the progressive rhythm section of bassist Kyle Hannon and drummer James Norris, who can pump out extreme speed measures one second and be very straightforward and support the standard metal groove in a follow up part.
As great as the first half of Ascending the Monolith is, the final four songs push this release to mammoth heights. “Wombshifter” is a brilliant instrumental worthy of Metallica or early Metal Church inspection, while the 6 minute “Clarion of Regret” contains the cultural/epic riffing and spirit that brings me back to my early love of heavy metal. And some of their European classic doom elements still seep in from the early days, especially in closer “Forever Forgotten”.
Topping things off with their best production values to date (in line with most major players in the metal business) and a striking cover, Ascending the Monolith is a testament to steady improvement equals excellence in the end.