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Forka - Black Ocean - 70%

Opus_Oculto, October 2nd, 2013

In general, Brazilian bands of death and thrash metal usually present innovative works that surprise critics. It is the case of names like Sepultura, Torture Squad, Dorsal Atlantica, Krisiun, Korzus, and many others who have released albums world-renowned and got plenty of visibility in extreme music scene today. The band Forka may not be up to the names mentioned, but has done a great job in Brazilian underground.

Black Ocean, different from what they say, is not merely a thrash metal album. Thrash is its main brand, but Black Ocean has many elements of other genres such as hardcore and metalcore that make the sound of the band achieve high levels of aggression and speed. Technically, it is an album that one has nothing to complain about. The production was very well done, the mix of instruments as well (it is possible to clearly distinguish them all on every song) and the album front cover features a dark theme with a skull on a black sea, also very well done.

Individually, each member of Forka surprises the listener throughout the album. The vocals of Ronaldo D'Castro are quite powerful and versatile, ranging from severe to acute passages very quickly, without losing aggressiveness and clarity. His ability to lead the letters among the speed of the guitars and drums makes the songs of Black Ocean hard to forget after listening to them more than once. The guitars are quite creative, ranging from the fast tremolo picked passages to the toughest and spaced riffing that resembles modern metalcore bands like Bullet for My Vallentine, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, among others. It’s also clear their hardcore influence in songs like Nation of Ashes. Alex Momi also makes a terrific job on the drums, guiding the songs with precision, combined with a technique that essentially makes his sound raw and violent, without much technique, but with constant velocity variations.

However, despite all the technically positives points, musically Black Ocean is not an album that brings a lot of innovation to the thrash scene. In fact, I'd say Black Ocean is another good album of thrash / deathcore because the songs are very predictable, and the riffs always leave a feeling of "I've heard this somewhere...” Over the nearly 50 minutes of running tracks, you end up getting tired of the noise a bit repetitive, saved only with the appearance of the final track, Empire Surrender, which is the highlight of the album, the only track to be nearly 100% thrash metal.

Black Ocean sins by overtaxing the listener's hearing, which gets tired of so many riffs and variations along its twelve tracks, but it's worth being heard by its extreme technical quality and creativity of each individual band member.

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