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Forcentury; Vanguard

Formed in 2008, Forcentury hail from Denmark and Vanguard, which is packed with traditional heavy metal gusto, is their debut album. I have to be honest and say that if I had been asked to rate this disc after only one or two spins, I probably would have gone for a score one, or maybe one and a half less than the eight I settled on. Going on to state the obvious then, Vanguard is a bit of a grower. The reason? Well to me it is because that on initial encounter I found Forcentury's take on their Rainbow meets Iron Maiden with a dash of power/progressive metal, to be interesting if not original. In fact that opinion hasn't changed a jot, it's just that with more exposure the actual songs and performances put together by Forcentury are pretty damn impressive and completely believable. The more I've listened to Vanguard, the more it's possible to hear the five members of the band pour their heart and soul into each and every song and it's hard to deny that this is a collection of tracks that have been recorded for the pure love of the music.

Johan Thunder is a surprisingly melodic vocalist who has the slightest pinch of Dio mixed with a soupcon of, believe it or not, Dare's Darren Wharton. Strange it may sound, but I can assure you it works really well. Marc Masters and JaCK weave a spell of big, bold, brash riffs that range from almost speed metal ala Helloween to prog metal via the twin guitar assault of Maiden and a tip of the (black) hat of Ritchie Blackmore. Add in the vitally important and thunderous Jonas Lindt on drums, the manic bass throb of Iver and the subtle, tasteful keyboard colours of Andreas Palsgard and this is indeed a potent brew.

It's impossible to point to a moment of originality, or true innovation on Vanguard, however with full throttled approach and committed execution, that familiarity actually works in Forcentury's favour. Whether it's the Judas Priest like attack of "Speculator", the Maiden meets Dream Theater of "Son of Poseidon", or the fiery "Land Of Mirrors", the guitars cut through cleanly and Thunder's vocals hit the spot. It is however when they really put their foot on the pedal with "Through The Eyes Of Thunder" and "Bottom Line Zombies" that Forcentury are at their best with guitar riffs and flurries, keyboard blasts and pummelling drums charging out of the speakers. Equally as important is the fact that the tracks stick in the mind and have strong enough hooks to keep you singing the words long after the disc has finished.

It does need time to reveal its power, however as debuts go, Vanguard is mightily impressive and augers extremely well for Forcentury's future.

Track Listing
1. No Evil
2. Follow The Rain
3. Bleed Me Dry
4. Chemical Attraction
5. Kiss Of Death
6. One Bullet
7. Tonight
8. Storms of the Sea
9. Destiny
10. Revolution
11. Valerie
12. Death Of A Movie Star

Added: December 26th 2009
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: For century on Facebook
Hits: 1114
Language: english

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