Forcefed Horsehead
Monoceros

I mean… what a name, right??

Look, I know that these Norwegian Grind/D-Beat/Punk Rockers ain’t exactly new to the block – in fact they’ve been menacing their way around the world of extreme music for over a decade at this point, but that moniker – I don’t care how many times I see it. Every time I picture The Godfather, right? But instead of Jack Woltz waking up to a surprise lesson in equine cranial anatomy, he’s strapped to that ornate mahogany headboard of his while a couple Corleone goons serve him up a million dollar horsey carpaccio. That’s a spicy meat-a-ball!

So yeah, some grotesque imagery here! But Forcefed Horsehead aren’t exactly here to hold your hand through a meadow of wildflowers and daffodils, are they? VIBE CHECK – a ride with these fellas, and you’re in for a chaotic mix of Grind, Hardcore and Punk, with an ooey, gooey underbelly of Sludge and dirty, dirty Death Metal permeating the entire thing, like someone threw a blanket over Mr. Ed’s rotting, decaying corpse and left it in the sun for a month. The end result is in equal measures shocking, revolting and utterly fascinating – the kind of scene you can’t help but stare at even though you know it’s going to be the fuel to every nightmare you have for the rest of your life.

Along with all the different influences at play in FFHH‘s sound, there’s also an undeniably Norwegian quality to it. When they aren’t obliterating your senseless with the relentless grind attack of tracks like opener “Every Death You Take” and the superb “Ruins,” or dragging you through guano-flooded caverns of Sludge and Doom like on “The Black Sun” or “And Then There Were None,”  that familiar rock-out, fun-loving sound perfected by the likes of Kvelertak and Turbonegro seems to shine through, giving the likes of “Futile” and “Iri” an unnervingly upbeat, punky sort of attitude that makes you reach for that extra beer or four well past the point when adding to the night’s tally is necessary or wise – which is of course, when the really ugly, chaotic shit starts going down. The driving beats and riffs of “Novgorod” are positively dripping with malcontent, featuring a dizzying mix of furious blast beats and Every Time I Die-inspired groove that will bring the walls down in whatever venue unfortunate enough to have to try and contain them. Similar story on the tongue-in-cheek titled “Übernecro,” which lays thick into more hardcore sensibilities, attacking with an avalanche of perky, muscular riffing that couldn’t get a frenzied pit moving faster if it released a live, starving tiger onto the general admission floor.

As mentioned earlier, when the band does decide to get real heavy, they are not holding back. “The Black Sun” brings the proceedings to a crushing, oppressive halt, pummeling the listener with slow, plodding riffs and monstrous beats that smash into you with the kind of devastation only a runaway locomotive could dish out. It’s a song that takes the Marshawn Lynch “run through a mothafucka face” guide to life truly to heart – we’re talking ten-ton hammerblows to the dome again and again and again for 6+ minutes straight until you’re a veneer of red liquid in the dirt. Closer “… And Then There Were…” follows a similar destructive path, though playing a bit more on the morose, dreary end of the spectrum, rather than outright hateful pummeling. The effect however, is just as devastating, not only doling out a physical sort of punishment, but mental and emotional as well (which any good Catholic knows is how you cause REAL lasting damage).

By the time I’m through with “Monoceros,” I’ve found myself with a bit ol’ grin on my face, because what this album really does is transport me back to a lot of really fond, nostalgic periods of my journey through the world of metal. More than once I found myself thinking back to the likes of Premonition of War and Burnt by the Sun – others, I’m dragged a bit more down in the mud – fondly reminiscing days spent discovering the likes of Bloodlet or Soilent Green, and just when you think you’ve got a general beat on what’s going on with Forcefed Horsehead, things get a little weird and you find yourself tangled in the chaos the likes of Today is the Day and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. It’s an absolute whirlwind of aggression and ill-intent, and damned if it’s not a goddamn blast of a listen. So even though I risk having the thought of a Bojack Horseman snuff film permanently imprinted on my brain with every spin of this record, the risk is well worth it. Check it out for yourself.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
March 31st, 2023

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