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Released: 2012, Tribunal Records
I used to be a big Forte fan. I say ‘used to’ because they broke up back in 1999 or so, so I used the past tense even though I still enjoy their old records to this day, so technically I am still a fan. I was writing a CD review earlier this month for the new Desecrate album, AT THE EDGE OF SANITY (check it out in this months reviews) and I referenced Forte because the young Power/Thrash band reminded me of the great qualities of Forte, and I even said so in that review. On a whim, I looked up Forte on Metal-Archives and discovered they had reformed and had released a new album in June of 2012. I don’t know how I missed that news! I instantly ordered the new album UNHOLY WAR from their new label, Tribunal Records and here we are.
I’m so pleased this American quintet is back in action. It has been 13 years since RISE ABOVE, their fourth album, came out on Massacre Records and I just assumed they would never rise above again. Three of the four members are back and Ghames Jones is back on bass after leaving the band in the 90’s, so there is very little change in the intervening 10+ years. Even the logo is the same. The production is good for an essentially a home-made effort and the packaging is good, with lyrics, photos and a cool piece of cover art with the evil high priest addressing the rioting masses.
Musically, the band is still tight and powerful playing that magnificent blend of Power and Thrash that is so hard to capture and do well. The voice of Dave Thompson has held up really well. He has grit and force in his voice and his range is still pretty good although he sings in the middle registers. The pace and intensity of this album are high, as Forte rip through, just balls, out heads down Metal. Tracks like ‘Rain Of Fire’ and ‘Absolute Power’ just crush…with an absolutely powerful rain of fire! They do mix it up a little but with a few hints of keyboard and acoustic guitar. For example, the atmospheric cut ‘Undying’ is a powerful slow song with a catchy chorus, but still quite forceful, sort of like what Iced Earth might do on their slower songs. The whole ten song album rips by in 36 minutes and fully satisfied my Metal hunger for classic Priest/Maiden+Annihilator/Testament style. I wish more bands played like this.
This is the first review of a Forte album on Metal-Rules and I would recommend fans of Power/Thrash to explore their first four albums as well. If you like those few quintessential American Metal bands like Omen, Helstar, Vicious Rumours, and Iced Earth you need to check out Forte.
1. Vae Solis
2. Unholy War
3. Dead to Me
4. Take the Mark
5. Absolute Power
7. Stronger than Death
8. Rain of Fire
9. Gears of Damnation
10. Light to the Blind
Dave Thompson Vocals
Jeff Scott Guitar
Ghames Jones Bass
Greg Scott Drums, Keyboards
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