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No Technical Ecstasy - 76%

Metal_Thrasher90, December 6th, 2013

Forced Entry’s debut wasn’t really what I would call a masterpiece, it was more a reflection of the passion and good talent of 3 young Seattle thrashers, who refused to follow the conventional ways of most of their peers. Their demos from the mid-80’s offered something refreshing and entertaining, pioneers for those days when technical power thrash wasn’t developed yet. But their first LP came late, when a bunch of other groups already made something in that style. For the second album, these guys didn’t seem to have special plans or crucial intentions to change their music. It was made when the 90’s arrived and thrash was still strong, soon it started to show serious symptoms of weakness, though. Would these guys manage to record another decent release?

Well, the answer to that question might be positive. However, you can notice this stuff is musically weaker than what they did on “Uncertain Future”. Most of these songs are quite competent, sometimes unpredictable, including numerous cool riffs, satisfactory complexity, hyperactive tempo changes and ambitious structures. On other hand, they lack the roughness and intensity of the debut, at times also lack a clear serious direction. The Seattle trio put emphasis, once again, on the difficulty of the composition arrangements, the progression/alteration of the leading guitar lines, even melody but I’m afraid the result ain’t that bright. They put all their passion and effort on this, somehow it’s not working. Particularly on completely forgettable tunes like “Apathy” or “Thunderhead”, which feature some elaborated instrumental sequences and sharp riffs, though soon becoming inconsistent and repetitive. Maybe if they didn’t put so much attention on trying to make their music advanced and technical, it would’ve been better. Because the way they attempt to provide these numbers of difficulty becomes exhausting after the first 4 or 5 cuts. But among all this chaos, there’s some moments of clarity. Some tracks, like “Bone Crackin’ Fever” or “Macrocosm, Microcosm”, might not be incredible or truly well-constructed; plenty of rhythm modifications, suprising alternating structures and instrumental efficiency, though. These guys even take a break from their stubborn intentions to play something casual, scruffy and immature. “How We Spend Our Summer Vacation” and “We’re Dicks” (whose titles say it all) are dumb fun, uncontrolled and silly, but remarkably executed. Even if they’re leading nowhere, at least they offer something surprising. Thrash and jokes, what a combination!

Good songs, bad songs. The record combines tenuous talent with ordinary mediocrity, but in the end that’s what makes Forced Entry’s sound enjoyable. Their music didn’t evolve or improve here, it got stuck in the same mistakes and handicaps that kept their debut from being memorable. Although their attitude, passion and energy are admirable. Actually, their style is quite characteristic if you compare it to the uniform patterns of most of late 80’s technical thrash. Fortunately, the Seattle thrashers didn’t get obsessed with cheesy melody and mellow harmonies. And Tony Benjamins’ voice keeps these tracks away from that inoffensive trend, making them sound very harsh and heavy. He gives them a very tough presence, his tone will remind you of other rough vocalists like Ken Elkington, Chris Astley, even Chuck Billy. With the exception of “Never A Know, But The No”, the only pseudo-ballad of the album, on which Brad takes the vocal duties (check the cameo of Alice In Chain’s former frontman Layne Staley in the videoclip). Hull’s guitar work was the leading force of the band, in its own way splendid. The group didn’t manage to define a very solid complexity that made sense, but this guy had the potential and necessary abilities to make something bigger than they did. When you listen to his vibrant guitar lines, you can realize he’s not just one more outrageous thrash player. His technique is astonishing and imaginative, although on this record he started abusing of pedal effects excessively. Inspired by Dimebag Darrell maybe? Remember this was made back in 1991, when Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell” achieved already a crushing success. About Colin Mattson’s drum parts, let’s say he did a good job: no virtuosism, no extraordinary details. He shows certain improvement from the first record chaotic double bass-drum rhythms, now they’re more precise.

In conclusion, a decent album that didn’t make history, didn’t seriously rivalize with other much more talented bands of technical thrash, either surprise anybody. I have some predilection for forgotten vintage records and I can say this is one of the most amusing from the subgenre, though. Recommended for Acid Reign, Sanctuary, Depressive Age, D.A.M., Slammer and co. fans, whose ears ain’t that strict or perfectionist. Unfortunately, this was the last Forced Entry full-length. They released that forgettable EP, “The Shore” in 1995 and performed some gigs in 2002. Apart from that, they have reminded quite inactive. Some rumors about a possible reunion exist. But I would rather be cautious and not expect much, after so many disappointing thrash comebacks...