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Forged In Black – Descent Of The Serpent Award winner

Forged In Black
Descent Of The Serpent
by Rachel Montgomery at 12 March 2019, 5:43 AM

FORGED IN BLACK’s latest album is nothing short of a Power Metal masterpiece that combines new sounds with traditional roots. Chris StozStorozynski’s vocals blend the range and power of Bruce Dickinson with the haunting timber of Roy Kahn - former lead singer of KAMELOT. While his voice alone could carry the album, the melodic guitars, the utilization of drum riffs, and a combination of ambiance and background vocals create a near-perfect vision of a sorcerous, post-apocalyptic world that I could envision getting lost in.

“Seek No Evil” is a solid opener, harkening to IRON MAIDEN with Andy Songhurst and Chris Bone’s strong, fast guitar from the beginning; but “One in the Chamber” was what sold this album for me. There’s a chiasmus of the main riff of “Seek No Evil” (a mirror effect produced in this case, if I heard it right, by playing the last riff backwards) that keeps the theming going. The melody changes twice before we get to the vocals, leaving the listener guessing. And once the vocals start, Storozynski implements his wide range and delivery, both of which, he isn’t afraid to use. The instrumental break was amazing and kept the key and tone changing, leaving the listener guessing where they’d pick up. The whole effect was creating suspense with the types of riffs Power Metal is known for - playing its different forms off one another: the powerful, the melodic, the bombastic, the thrashing.

Shadowcaster” has similar vibes to an earlier single of FORGED IN BLACK’s, “The Exodus.” It starts off slow and builds and builds to the full power of the band’s guitars and vocals. While I thought the lyrics could get hokey sometimes (which happens in Power Metal sometimes, even to great bands), the guitar solo was great, and I wish they stuck with that pace through the rest of the song rather than going back to the slower verses. The title track, “Descent of the Serpent” starts strong and bombastic, then goes into a march. This track, and the next one reminded me of a couple tracks off KAMELOT’s “TheBlack Halo” album and cemented the comparison between Storozynski and Kahn. Notably, “Descent of the Serpent” has a great drum line around the minute mark before changing up the guitars again; and the second guitar solo blew me away.

In “One Last Sign,” I think Storozynski could have utilized his range a little more to bring out the melodic, ballad nature of the verse and chorus. The ending of the song is hauntingly beautiful and brought me back (again) to KAMELOT’s “Black Halo” album - specifically “The Haunting (Somewhere in Time). I love how the organ-like intro to “Palm of Silver” picks up where the last song left off and turns what was a beautiful ballad chord into a sinister song with the evil laughter. Both this song and “Alphaleon Tormerntor” start with slow burns and cement the thematic elements of this album. Of the two, I think “Apheleon Tormentor” is the strongest, with the best blend of melodic balladry and bombastic power.

“Vendetta” was solid but felt somewhat anti-climactic. If this were a concept album with a narrative, this track would have to be the one with the most tension, and I didn’t feel like it soared above the rest of the album or was heavier or faster. On its own, it’s powerful, but it isn’t any more powerful than the rest of the album, and for where it is, it needs to be. The conclusion of the album, “When Hell is Done,” is a good, haunting finale that leaves you with a sense of doom and suspense.

All in all, aside from a few small critiques, this is an excellent album. The band pulled no punches when creating this work, and it shows.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Seek No Evil
2. One in the Chamber
3. Shadowcasters
4. Descent of the Serpent
5. One Last Sign
6. Palm of Silver
7. Aphelion Tormentor
8. Vendetta
9. When Hell Is Done
Lineup:
Chris StozStorozynski - Lead Vocals
Andy Songhurst - Guitars
Kieron Rochester - Bass and Vocals
Chris Bone – Guitars
Kev Rochester – Drums
Record Label: Fighter Records
     


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Edited 26 March 2019
 

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