Fullforce – One (SPV Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Like stepping in a puddle with one’s socks on, power metal “supergroups” are largely an unpleasant experience. Because power metal is such worn-out brand of metal that needs to be totally spot-on for it to work, most bands of this ilk (read: Symfonia, Ride the Sky, Freedom Call, etc.) are usually jostling with one another for face time, oftentimes forgetting that in spite of what they really think, the music they’re playing is dated, trite, and rife with clichés. And when it’s bad, it’s really bad. Enter the debut from Fullforce,One.

With scene veterans from Hammerfall, Yngwie Malmsteen, Stratovarius, and Narnia in the ranks, Fullforce isn’t lacking for pedigree, that’s for sure. The superlative drum skills of Anders Johansson (Hammerfall) are usually worth checking out for a good double-bass rumble, while singer Mike Andersson of Cloudscape fame is able to relish in a happy-go-lucky chorus when he has to, just check out the saccharine-beyond-belief “Heart and Soul.” But outside of “None Of Your Concern” (which is great title), Andersson is just another power metal puppet, busting out the same vocal melodies we’ve been hearing since Gamma Ray and Helloween were at each other’s throats.

One isn’t a total waste. “Open Your Eyes” kicks into action with a hearty Stratovarious-like rhythm, and “Bleed” has a wispy, hummable chorus, both of which are indication of Fullforce can really do when properly aligned. Unfortunately, the rest is mid-level, oftentimes totally boring melodic rock/power metal that is hardly convincing. Rather, it feels like these guys got together to use up the throwaway ideas from their respective bands.

While we’ll never balk at the chance to get down with a massive sing-a-long chorus and songs laced with melody, albums like One prove that power metal is its own worst enemy. You’d think with the combined experience and intellect from the parties involved that this would at least be a competent affair, butOne is totally phoned-in. From Sweden, no less.

www.fullforce.se

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)