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Ground-Force: Tree of Life

It's always nice to see heavy metal music gaining traction in parts of the world that you may not expect. Be it the Middle-East, Africa, (or in the case of this review) South Asia; seeing the flag of the music we all love being flown in these non-stronghold areas is always a welcome sight. With their debut album Tree of Life, Ground-Force show moxie and some surprising technical wizardry in addition to some growing pains that one would have to expect from a new band from a part of the world that isn't exactly awash with melodic metal, power metal, or really metal of any kind.

Ground-Force are a five-piece band from the populous nation of Bangladesh. Playing a stripped down blend of power metal and melodic hard rock, there's things to admire on the quintet's debut. Album opener and title track "Tree of Life" is probably the track to best display these positive traits; tasty riffs, good melodies, and just a lot of bounce and life. There's plenty of energy surging from this track, with harmonized leads, pounding and thumping double-kick drums, and some truly masterful bass playing that is sadly somewhat buried in the mix. Ground-Force absolutely sound like they mean it, and that's something you can't fake. The authenticity that is required to even begin a band like this in that part of the world says a lot. Not exactly a trendy choice.

All that said, this album has some serious issues. The first being that this band just isn't particularly tight. There's many moments when the drums just simply don't line up with the more percussive and tight riffs, and things can just get chaotic at times. There are melodies (such as the harmonized lick in "Spear of Light"), that are just dissonant and goofy. And not in a good way. Also, out of the 7 tracks found here, I'd say 4 of them are ballads/semi-ballads, and that's a disappointment when the band are at their best just going for it and barrelling forward at full speed. The other issue that will no doubt be a dealbreaker for most, are the vocals. Vocalist Ehsan Rahman Zia is not exactly up to snuff, especially in a genre that arguably contains Metal's most talented vocalists. English probably isn't his first language, and that can't be easy to navigate on your first album, but his voice just lacks dynamics and range. It's very amateur, if I'm being honest. He's better on the slower tracks, but his delivery leaves a lot to be desired.

You can't help but root for the guys in Ground-Force. As an upstart band from a land far, far away from most of us, I truly do wish these guys the best and hope they continue doing what they do well and deliver us some kick-ass music in the future, but Tree of Life is a bit of an undercooked slog. Aside from some tasty solos and the novelty of where they set up shop, you'd be better off checking out some future albums to see if they can reach their full potential.

1. Tree of Life
2. Song of Earth
3. Spear of Light
4. Forever Gone
5. The Watchers
6. The Great Flood
7. The Archangel

Added: January 11th 2022
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 76
Language: english

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