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When it comes to neo-classical progressive albums, Artension's first two outings were probably some of the best ever recorded. Into the Eye of the Storm and Phoenix Rising were hitting on all cylinders, destroying all others in the genre, with Kuprij's excellent keyboarding and John West's even better vocals. Could Forces of Nature possibly live up to their incredible standard? Close, but no. Forces of Nature is a little more than a half of an excellent album and a little less than half of something on the caliber of Future World, which is an album that is not bad, but it is also not that great, either.
By track five I'm ready to rave about this album. Forces of Nature, Behind Your Eyes and Tall Ships all have the great workings to be on their first two masterworks. With memorable choruses and well written compositions, this half is absolutely excellent. However, during and after Shape Shifter, the album has a slight musical downturn. John West is still hitting it, but the music being played just does not seem to be as inspiredly written as the rest of the album. Maybe Kuprij ran out of ideas or perhaps the album was rushed at this point because of a deadline of some sort. One song is exceptional on the second side, though, and that is Lost Horizon.
But I must say that these songs aren't that bad and I still find them enjoyable, albeit inferior to 1-5. All instruments are on the entire album. Everything is more than competently played, the most exceptional of which is keyboards. It's just that the writing isn't as good. I've still listened to this album a lot over the last few years, so I am sure of my opinion. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to judge this album half by half. First half: 9, second half: 7. Still definitely highly recommended to fans of the genre and especially of Artension.