Next review: » Fullforce - One
Released: 2011, SPV
In case you missed it, each year here at Metal-Rules.com all the staff make some predictions for our Year End Special. Here was my #3 prediction for 2011 written in December of 2010.
“3. Fullforce. The new band featuring…
Mike Andersson (CLOUDSCAPE, SILENT MEMORIAL, PLANET ALLIANCE) Vocals,
Stefan Elmgren (HAMMERFALL) Guitar,
Carl-Johan Grimmark (NARNIA) Guitar,
Tommy Larsson (HEED) Bass,
Anders Johansson (HAMMERFALL, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) drums.
The debut album is out this spring. With that kind of fire-power, I’m calling it a (very) early contender for many Top 10 lists in 2011.”
That pretty sums up my current feelings writing this in June. I was not disappointed at all and the debut album ONE actually exceeded my expectations. Sometimes when you have these glorious (on-paper) super-groups the sum is not as good as the whole. Well, I’m so delighted that in this case the whole is an incredible amalgamation of talent that has written, recorded and produced an instant classic in my mind…kinda like my #2 prediction of Symfonia being kick-ass as well.
A very cool, futuristic album cover sets a bit of a modern tone, in terms of presentation and style but the music is certainly not tainted with ‘modern’ metal elements. However, the band is not adverse to applying some more dynamic keyboard elements giving some of the songs (again) a bit of a futuristic tone. Check out the song ‘Oblivion’ it has song-writing style that has a bit of a middle-eastern feel and flavour but with the aforementioned synth tones. It’s a neat mix.
If you are familiar with the players involved it will not shock you that the lads deliver unto us a solid 45 minute album, of classic True/Power Metal. No surprises, no tricks, no novelty elements, just total class top to bottom. Production, song-writing, individual performances, it’s all world-class. The interesting and (very) slightly progressive arrangements work in harmony with the crunchy guitar and classic metal riffs. The songs stretch out and breath, but all sit nicely in that compact 4-5 minute range. The albums glides along, it’s not all double-kick driven songs, although Anders does those parts when necessary, with ease. There are even some more Melodic Metal components as well, as heard on tunes like, ‘Rain’, a mid-tempo tune showcasing Mike’s classic pipes and Anders hammering the bell of the ride like no tomorrow, before dropping into a great catchy chorus.
With this much class and talent, this album was destined to be great, (even before I heard it) so there goes all my journalistic neutrality. I just knew it was gonna rock, unless the guys delivered a total dog. Pair this album with the new Symfonia and you have a one-two, knock-out punch for new super-groups of 2011. One of my most anticipated albums of the year delivers!
2. Heart And Soul
4. Open Your Eyes
6. Suffering In Silence
7. Wall Of Secrets
8. Father Spirit
10. Into The Cradle
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Released: 2011, Steamhammer/SPV
The initial incarnation of Sweden’s Fullforce began in 2008 and involved a few lineup changes before settling on the current lineup in 2009. And what a lineup it is, boasting Mike Andersson (Cloudscape, Vocals), Stefan Elmgren (ex Hammerfall, Guitars), Anders Johansson (Hammerfall, ex Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Drums), CJ Grimmark (ex Narnia, Guitars) and Tommy Larsson (ex Heed, Bass). The danger with these bands is that they often end up as one –off projects, but the band has been very vocal in stating that this is a legitimate band and their dedication is focused solely on Fullforce with every intention of performing and touring live.
As you might expect with this bands pedigree, the music is tight and precise melodic power metal, with hints of progressive metal and stronger elements of hard rock. Having made a name in this style of music in other bands, Fullforce will not be seen as any reinvention of the genre, which at this point is probably impossible anyway. Putting their heavy foot forward, opener “Mythomaniac” is a mid-paced, riff-centered track, with Andersson providing the melody among the chug. If you are attracted to the more traditional style of power metal in the opening track, direct yourself to “Walls of Steel” and “Bleed”. To get your dose of the hard rock elements, check out “Rain”, “Heart And Soul”, and especially the closing track “Into The Cradle”. “Into The Cradle” is probably the most compelling song on the album, with an uplifting chorus and excellent vocals from Anderssson. Finally, “Oblivion” is one of the more varied tracks that seamlessly blend all of the styles on the album with an uncomplicated and compelling rhythm.
Personally, I felt the album got stronger as it went along, the first few tracks being quite decent but rather expected. The band seems to be feeling its way towards their own sound, and I get the impression they prefer to be more hard rock but cannot seem to entirely discard the power metal entirely. The guitar work is absolutely perfect, not particularly heavy but bright and clear. Anders varies the drums, but there is still a bit too much double bass when frankly none of these songs are fast enough to warrant it. The bass is solid but unremarkable, the lost art of the bass doing more than just following the guitars in metal almost complete, so Fullforce is no different than any other band in how they use the bass guitar.
From a production viewpoint, Fullforce delivers a solid and strong album that is unlikely to blow anybody away, but will make for an enjoyable listen for power metal and hard rock fans. I sure hope that the band continues and puts out a second album, because it will be curious to see if they embrace more hard rock or become more pummeling. Time will tell, but for now we have a fine album on our hands from a promising new band. ONE will be released in the US/Canada on July 26th, 2011 and is already available in the rest of the world.
Note: If you purchase the album on Itunes it comes with a bonus track not available on the CD called “Best Of Times.”
2 None Of Your Concern
3 Heart And Soul
5 Open Your Eyes
7 Suffering In Silence
8 Walls Of Secrets
9 Father spirit
11 Into The Cradle
iTunes Bonus Track:
Best Of Times
Mike Andersson – Vocals
Stefan Elmgren – Guitars
CJ Grimmark – Guitars
Tommy Larsson – Bass
Anders Johansson – Drums
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