From Germany comes Forces at Work, a band that's been around since 2000 but Straight is actually their debut full-length CD. Though there are a variety of styles on display here, such as death metal, alternative, thrash, hardcore, and jazz, for the most part the band offers up a techncial form of progressive metal, somewhat in the vein of acts such as Dillinger Escape Plan and Between the Buried and Me. Guitarists Adrian Weiss and Mischa Blum provide much of the musical fireworks throughout, as their pummeling riffs and dexterious leads & fills certainly have plenty of wow factor on tunes like "The Mind Slavery", "Sickness", "Be Machine", "Keep Marchin' ", and "Colours". Vocalist Sebastian Wischermann is all over the place, delivering brutal growls, high pitched screams, deep bellows, and the occasional clean vocal passage, which will make for a schizophrenic listen for some, but I'm sure those who like the extra variety in their extreme metal will find his array of styles more than suitable. The band even does a complete about-face on the closing instrumental "Straight Into The Odd", which is a lovely jazz-fusion/prog track featuring sumptuous guitar work from Weiss & Blum as well as silky smooth bass lines courtesy of Marcel Willnat and some tricky drum work from S. Sabir Bosanac.
There's a lot to like here on Straight, and Forces at Work have done a great job at putting together some complex, heavy material that really shows their musical skills. Personally, I'd love to hear them drop some of the hardcore influences and explore more of the fusion & prog elements that pop up throughout, especially on the closing instrumental. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
01. The Mind Slavery
03. 3 Logic Dead
04. Be Machine
05. Keep Marchin'
06. Virtual Furher
10. Straight Into The Odd (instrumental)