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Impressive debut album - 78%

ow_my_ears_1349, July 4th, 2011

Last I knew, metal wasn’t about following a standard set and expected by mainstream bands, or having an image that will label your music. The last I knew, metal was about letting your music label itself and letting it be appreciated for what it is and not for what it should or shouldn’t be to someone else. And anyone who takes the time to listen to this album will see that Forever In Terror have taken a great first step in creating something unique.

The technicality and scope of the music of 'Restless In the Tides' are quite advanced, especially for a debut album. I will admit that the first time I listened I was not so impressed with the quality of the sound and seemingly repetitious drumming, as well as the lackluster vocals. However, when I gave this album another chance and listened carefully all the way through, it was immediately apparent that these guys understand how to write in-depth, complex songs with plenty of technical prowess, and this is just their first album.

Each song is extremely complex with fast-paced riffing that always has your attention. And to me, the most impressive aspect is the complexity of each song. While they are long and can seem drawn out at times, if you pay attention you can understand that they were not just blindly written to fill time; it’s clear that real thought and effort was spent creating each song. Unfortunately, less than amazing production quality plagues this album, as it is for the most part at the forefront of the album’s overall somewhat dull sound. Of course, the vocals don’t help any and are admittedly very bland and repetitious, offering nothing in terms of emotion for the music, which is sad really because you can tell that this should be an amazingly incredible debut album.

But I can get past those things and focus my attention on what is really impressive, and that’s the overall song structure. Extremely fast, complex riffing is always a guarantee with Forever In Terror, and it is all beautifully complimented by constantly varying, in-your-face drums. Of course, some of the blast beats can get old, mostly due to the production quality like I mentioned, as it seems to push the higher pitched sound of the snare in your face when you would least appreciate it, when what we really want to hear is the guitar and bass drum at the forefront. But hey, I guess you can’t have it all.

The thing I like most about this band and this album in terms of their place within the melodic death genre is that they most often carry a more upbeat, fast-paced and technical sound. So much melodic death out there seems nearly depressive and less interesting, as it all follows much of the same form and it is tough to find something melodic and unique that doesn’t sound too mainstream. Forever In Terror are the happy median, as is expressed with this album. That is the basis behind my thoughts on the songs “The Chosen One” and “I’m Not Afraid of Tomorrow”, which highlight my point-of-view exactly with their melodic clean vocals. But it’s not just the vocals, the entire song is a nice change of pace from the standard heavy and dark themes that fill the genre. You will notice these uplifting melodies and guitar work on “Shameless Crucifixion” and “Restless In the Tides”.

In the world of melodic death metal, especially that which tends to focus on a more technical approach, it’s difficult to create something that can please the majority of listeners on all fronts, such as being fast-paced with extreme tempos, heavy, melodic, and just flat out brutal. Usually something lacks, and in the case of Restless In the Tides, I would have to say that the lacking factor is it’s heaviness. That is nothing to dwell on, especially when you consider this is the band’s first album. And while there are some quality heavy riffs, the album just seems to draw on a more prominent thrash influence, similar to Sylosis’s work. If you want melo-death based more around heaviness, check out Ignominious Incarceration’s 'Of Winter Born'.

All in all, 'Restless In the Tides' is a very impressive debut album. Intense, fast, technical, melodic, and overall very entertaining if you give it the time. If you can appreciate quality American death metal that tends to follow its own path and isn’t quite Gothenburg, but also not the lame, screamo many people think of when they think of American death metal, It will grow on you. Stand out tracks are “Leviathan”, “The Chosen One”, “Shameless Crucifixion”, “I’m Not Afraid of Tomorrow”, “Restless In the Tides”.