19 May 2015

Forklift Elevator - Borderline

Another chapter of our look at Italian bands is almost at an end.  The band in question here is Forklift Elevator (not the strangest name I have heard this week, but up there) who hail from Vigorovea (from what I can gather off their Facebook page).  Formed in 2009, the band have been trying to get this album out for a while; but due to line-up issues it was delayed for a while.  Their list of influences includes Black Label Society, Pantera, Chatarral Noise and System of a Down amongst other acts; so I am expecting them to sound a bit groove metal, with an interest in solos and heavy riffs that will sound like the gods of war are fighting over head.  I will be honest and state from the outset that before I was given the email asking if I would look at this band, I had no idea about them; coming from the UK, until recently I have not heard much in the way of Italian metal.  But I will always try to give a band a listen, but I cannot give much in the way of history about them.  So I will look at a few other aspects of this release - the cover of the album (an abandoned building with the band's logo on the wall) is very minimalist (and a little dirty as well), also the fact the band have self-produced this is either economical or very self-assured.  Either way, it is time to find out what it all sounds like.....

Track one is called "Intro" and it sounds like a vinyl record being played backwards with an evil message coming through the speakers. It gives way to the first track proper which is called "Misery" which comes across as the twisted and evil offspring of "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead and "5 Minutes Alone" by Pantera; it is so metal that it practically screams for your sound system to be adorned with studs and have only two volume settings - off and eleven.  "Blackout" has a trash tone going through that is very influenced by Megadeth and (once again) Pantera, with a dash of nu-metal for rhythmical flavour; it is a track which is hard to ignore and bounces around the head long after it has stopped playing.  The fourth song is called "The Skin" which has the sort of trash intro which I have not heard since 'Sound of White Noise' period Anthrax; once the song starts it goes back to the groove metal that has been the dominant flavour of this record and keeps up the good work as the band sound focused and tight at this point.

After this is "Overload" which seems to be the cowboy/acoustic track of the album; I have never been a big fan of these type of songs (even when Black Sabbath dropped "Caravan" years ago), sadly this one does not change that opinion - well played, but not for me.  "Damn Bug" brings back the metal with the slow sludge bass and drums, which are laced with barbed wired riffs that sound as if Pissing Razors have been giving this band lessons. The ending is a bit strange, but overall it is another good song.  Following on comes "Struggle of Life" which is a slowed down groove metal piece, it seems to be Forklift Elevator's forte and the ending on this album is much more rounded; overall it is one of the best tracks on the album which will be a must for fans of all variations of metal. 

Track eight is the longest of the album, "Arey" starts with a clear guitar plucking and the band opens into a solo that will have air guitar fans reaching for their invisible axe to strum along.  It has that feeling of Judas Priest and groove metal that Pantera started with the song "Cemetery Gates"; however it is a solid effort that does not fall into the obvious pit falls of either delving into a speeded up/heavier version of itself as the song goes along (it does at the very end, but this is the right place for that type of move) and also keeps the solos coming all the way through the song; this is another good song on this album. The next track is called "Cathedral" which comes across as a mixture of Fear Factory and American Head Charge.  It is a track which aims to stomp and start a mosh pit, but to be honest after "Arey" is feels a little flat in places.  The penultimate track is called "The Fog" and there is a sludge element to this number mixed in with the groove metal.  It is an incredible song which takes the album up another notch, it is down in the slower moments that this song excels.  To clarify, when I say slower I do not mean weak; this is a powerful number that does not try to run towards the sun and could have easily been the ending track of the record.  However, that task falls to the song "Dream Reaper" which goes for a faster ending; the riff sounds tight and it almost pulls it off right up to the last ill-judged burp.

I will be honest and say that this album is not really my thing, if anything I reckon that if Jerm had have had the time to review this then this could have been a love letter.  However, apart from a few things on the records (that burp at the end, a few by the numbers tracks) it was overall a very solid metal record.  It have a few rough edges for sure, but for what it is you cannot knock it - I think the word I am looking for is solid, still wish Jerm could have reviewed it.

7 out of ten - This is good and worth checking out.

You can purchase the digital version of Borderline from Amazon here

You can visit the Forklift Elevator website here

You can also follow their activities on Facebook here

You can stream Borderline on Spotify here

You can stream the album on Deezer if that if the streaming service for you

The album is not currently on Tidal, if this changes we will up this page

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