Ever Forthright
Ever Forthright

So I reviewed the demo compilation by this New York tech metal act a couple of years ago and was rather impressed, especially by the shredding abilities of guitarists Nick Llerandi and Billy Anderson who added some very nice sweeps and solos to the semi deathcore/tech death metal/metal core stylings. However, my only real gripe were the vocals of James Beach.

Well, Ever Forthright has gone out and fixed that issue by getting former Periphery vocalist Chris Barretto to sing and growl on their first proper album. And while he brings an improved vocal presence to Ever Forthright‘s already tight and intricate musicianship, he also brings with him a shift from more aggressive death core/tech death metal to a more commercial and experimental style of choppy, staggering, so called ‘djent’ (a sudden metal buzz word supposedly made popular by Periphery guitarist Misha  Mansoor) mixed with the ambitious  hues of Between the Buried and Me.

Now, while some folks may scream “sellout”, the fact is I saw this coming with some of the demo tracks I heard a while back, but with Barretto bringing some more vocal variety to the bands already skilled duo, it appears they wanted to spread their wings a bit, as their former sound may have been holding them back. Luckily, all the players are more than apt at handling the style shift, and while certainly far more commercial than their demos, the end result is a pretty stunning self released debut that should appeal to fans of the recent Vildhjarta releases as well as the the obvious fans of Meshuggah,The Contortionist, Textures, Veil of Maya, Tesseract and of course Periphery.

It’s hard to hate on the style shift when you faced with  over an hour of such well played, mature music, even more so with the duo of Llerandi and Anderson delivering such deft  guitar work, bouts of rangy experimentation (including a saxophone)  , synths, programming and perfect a balance of heft and clean moments that’s not quite as heavy as Vildhjarta, but not quite as commercial as Tesseract or Periphery. Barretto does deliver clean vocals about half the time , but they are well done, fitting and heartfelt and offset by plenty of growls and screams.

Almost all the tracks from the choppy opener “All Eyes on the Earth”, 9 minute,  sax laced epic “Screen Scenario’s”, “Lost on Our Escape”, hefty “Spineless”, and “The Counter Shift”  combine stuttering djent polyrhythms , slick shreddage, some delicate keys, and a vocal duality that’s fitting on both extremes from soaring croons to deep growls. And its all wrapped up in a professional, tightly produced package that’s as good as anything you’ll hear on a label (I hope someone from Sumerian Records is reading this).

My only minor beef is that the CD runs for a bit long, and issue that could have been solved with slightly shorter songs or  the removal of a couple of later tracks, namely a couple of the few missteps in “Infinitely Inward”, “City Limits”, “Dispose of Your Optimism” where the band gets just a little bit too experimental and progressive with some rap metal vocals, some female blues vocals and much more clean vocals work from Barretto. I get the need to push the limits a bit, but the Sax was just about the perfect level of experimentation and these three tracks kind of drag the album’s more commercial last third down a bit. Luckily, “Clockwork” closes things out with a more apt and hefty djent lurch.

Much like last years release by Journal, it’s amazing to me that bands this talented and hard working are either unsigned or languishing on (really) tiny independent labels like Myriad Records , even more so considering the what appears to be sudden rise in the djent genre. That all being said, look out for these guys if the musical climate stays the same.

 

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 13th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Josh

    Chris (the vocalist) also played all the sax on the record FYI!


  2. Commented by: Storm King

    Agree about the last third of the album-it gets a little too experimental for its own good, and the female vocal part is something that makes me want to hit the forward button-but for the most part, this is a pretty well executed bit of technical progressive metal. Okay, fine, djent, but that name makes the whole subgenre feel so trendy. Definite recommendation for fans of Periphery.


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