Released: 2012, Mighty Music
Danish power metal darlings Forcentury return for 2012’s RELEVANT album. Their 2009 debut album VANGUARD received mostly rave reviews, and this one has been highly anticipated amongst the melodic power metal faithful. Forcentury’s style of metal is power metal, decidedly modern, with some judicious nods to 80s era Maiden and Helloween. Mostly though, this is a band with an individual style most prominently displayed in the eccentric and inventive vocals of Johnn Thunder.
Musically, this is a guitar-driven album and the opening song, “Seal of The Sinner” is the predictable speedy opener, a practical pre-requisite in power metal these days. Nevertheless it is a catchy and impressive tune, but it is the following track “Outcast” that will give new listeners their first taste of the unique vocal styles of Thunder. The guy can shift from upper range power metal, to British 80s pop vocals - and somehow make it fit – instantly; truly a versatile singer. For guitar prowess, look no further then the melodic and fiery solo on “Repercussions of Terror.” Impressively, the melodies and riffs are innovative, avoiding many clichéd styles of power metal riffing such as the tremolo triplets, and at times instilling a feeling of discomfort and tension. Power metal usually has some happy and upbeat melodies and choruses, but this is also incorporates some doom and gloom. There are frequent midpaced tempos and strategically restrained employment of the gallops often overused in more traditional power metal.
The strengths of this album are also the potential roadblocks, at least for the more conventional power metal fan. Sure there are more than enough traditional elements to identify with, but Forcentury flirts with dissonance and unsettling rhythms more than most power metal bands. In that sense, they really venture more into progressive metal, and so it would not be inaccurate to consider RELEVANT a progressive power metal album. Likewise, I found myself really digging Thunder’s vocals but I can completely understand his style not appealing to everyone, as he mostly straddles the line between British Goth pop and power metal. No question, if you are looking for something different and a bit challenging, than look no further than Forcentury’s RELEVANT. Recommended for fans of Heavenfall and Eclipse Hunter.