Sunday, March 3, 2013

Forced - Accursed Share

Brooklyn's Forced lay between the realms of many genres. An obvious hardcore influence is apparent in the confident rhythms employed by all five tracks on Accursed Share, their debut release, but layered chord choices, atonality and sections of experimental guitar noodling hint at a far deeper bookshelf employed by the trio of Dave Freidrich, Mike Hegarty and Scott Brown. The fluid melodies of opening track Accursed Share, as well as the two latter tracks on the release, Devours Everything and Partitioning the Sensible are a nod to blackened touches as well as moments of tremolo blasts scattered throughout the album. Moments of technical dives and climbs may invoke briefly technical doomsters Confessed.


The overall picture here though is much closer to a band like Neurosis or Black Anvil though where Black Anvil is a bit more black, Forced are a bit more hard core and the atonal pendulaic strumming encountered throughout ties the whole thing together with a yarn of post-hardcore less the whiny choruses and trendy haircuts. This is way rougher than any of that stuff and a track like At Empire's End - my favorite on display here - provide an example of polished and crystal clear production done without sacrificing the grit and nastiness that's so necessary for the at times sludgy material to sink in and be effective. Guitars are sharp, decisive and ring with the overworked amplifier buzz of elder fuzz pedals. When Empire's End encounters the most atmospheric moment of the album - a forty second jog through hazy and eerie chords - the gnarly overdriven bass is audible. The drums are punchy and clear as well.

The whole thing is a nice tight recording and engineering job and it serves the music perfectly. I guess the most lackluster component of the band's sound are the vocals which are highly generic raspy screams encountered practically everywhere. They're well performed but have little character which makes this twenty five minute release feel a bit longer than it actually is. Composition is nothing particularly spectacular here. The songs follow a straight-forward approach. Individual songs are separated more by their tempo and pace than by their melodies. A lot off the riffs feel as if they could interchanged between each song. The variety in riff construction, as tight and emotionally performed as the riffs are, isn't that great.

Overall, for a first EP Forced are off to a good start. Perhaps some focus on song individuality and variety and working to separate the band from others in the same style would make the listening more enjoyable. The overall impression I get is that Forced would gain a lot by figuring out how to combine their rhythmic sensibilities with the layered melodic material and by doing so would set them apart from the more stereotypical path they are on right now.

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