Forged in Black
Descent of the Serpent

So I was half joking to myself the other day when I said to myself: “Self… I need to start a new group for death metal addicts: DMAA (which stands for Death Metal Addicts Anonymous)”.  The reason being is I find myself listening to a TON of death metal, especially slam-death, and it’s hard to force myself out of that comfort zone.  So in order to do that, I signed up to do the new full length album from UK quintet Forged in Black, and holy hell did it turn out to be EXACTLY what I needed.

After many spins of this album, it never ceases to get better and better.  The most apt comparison right out of the gate is Dio, and lead vocalist Chris Stoz Storozynski is a dead ringer for the late, great rocker; even adopting his same signature operatic vocal style.  But don’t let that be a negative at all dear reader, as this man has one hell of a set of pipes on him, and his vocals are PHENOMENAL.  Bassist Kieron Rochester backs him up on vocals, with drummer Kevin Rochester (not sure if they’re related) rounding out the rhythm section.  The string work is handled by Andy Songhurst and Chris Bone, and these guys can shred.

The album starts out with the thrashy “Seek No Evil”, and this is where we get our first intro to Stoz’s catch-as-hell vocal style before a nice tempo change about halfway through.  That is followed up by the best track on the album, “One in the Chamber”, which bounces between chunky riffs and another rousing chorus, to a nice solo and a breakdown outro.  Other standout tracks are “Shadowcasters”, the try-to-get-the-chorus-out-of-your-head “One Last Sign”, and closer “When Hell is Done”, which would have been right at home on any Dio album.

I could seriously write a novel about this album, as each song is simply awesome and stands apart from the others with zero hint of sameness or boredom on an album that clocks in a hair over 48 minutes.  You get fast songs, thrashy songs, doom-tinged songs, shredding solos, chug riffs, vocals that make you want to jump on your couch and start singing until the neighbors call the cops.  It’s all here, and it’s THAT GOOD.  The production is organic yet crystal clear, with all instruments dialed in perfectly.

This is the flat out essence of heavy metal, and is no doubt one of the best albums I have heard in a few years, and it will take a monumental effort to knock this one from my vote as Album of the Year (and we’re not even 2 months into 2019).  This one floored me, and is just what the doctor ordered.  So feel free to join me at the next DMAA meeting.  You won’t have to guess what the first album will be that we explore. 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
March 6th, 2019

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