31 May 2016

Forklift Elevator - Killer Self EP

It is time to return to a band I reviewed last year, the Italian groove metal machine Forklift Elevator.  Last year I reviewed their first album 'Elevator' (our review is cleverly linked here) and it was a good effort, but to be honest as well played as the music sounds, it is not the sort of music I tend to go for these days.  Groove metal is the usual bread and butter of our review, Mr Chris Jermyn.  But I have recently given him a ton of album to review, so it has fell to me once again to review the latest release from the Vigorovea natives.  From what I remember and the briefest read of the last review, Forklift Elevator are a mixture of groove metal, trash metal and have one of the strangest names I have heard in a long time.  Much like 'Elevator', the cover is very minimal and start.  A grey backdrop with the band's logo engraved and a noose just hanging there, with the EP titled at the bottom, scratched in red along the bottom.  But this is not looking at the EP, so it is time to see if this has added anything to the band's repertoire…...

Starting the EP is the brief introduction track "Life Denied" which is over in just over a minute, it reminds me of the beginning of parts of Judas Priest "Night Crawler" and any Pantera song you can think about.  It gives way to "Bagger 288" which is not a song about the strip-mining machine, but a groove metal song that aims for the body and looking to start a mosh pit in a room by itself.  The song is nothing that has not been done before by other acts, but it is still a good tune that will be well received by groove metal fans around the world.  "The 8th Sin" followers a similar suit to "Bagger 288" with a tune that reminds me of bands such as Biohazard and Sick of It All, it has that alternative metal 90's feeling about it and it is certainly one that does its job very well.  It is larger than life, an explosive song and one which will once again have many fans all over this planet of ours.  However, this is still a song which I can appreciate the craftsmanship, yet still not completely fall under its charms.  "Deception" slows the speed down a little, but it does not lessen the intensity as it moves towards a sound that is akin to a mixture of Pantera and Soulfly/Sepultra.  The song is a stomper that jumps around and has a lot of energy going for it, it is does hold a certain charm and it is one of the better groove metal numbers I have heard in recent years.  But once again I am left appreciating the effort that went into this, rather than enjoying the song like a fan of the genre would.

"Black Hole" is probably the weakest song on the EP here, with a slowed down-tuned riff that seems to grind without reaching the peak it is aiming for and changing to an Alice In Chains song half way through for a few seconds.  Once again, I cannot fault the performance of Forklift Elevator on this song as they play the song competently and there is a good degree of talent in this band, but it is not something I can connect with after many spins and the song leaves me a little cold.  The penultimate track "I Executor" and I can finally say there is a track on here which I actually really enjoy, rather than admire for the talent, this song has an interesting opening it has this nu-trash/groove riff that sparks the tune into life and it all comes together in a little ball of furry that ignites the imagination and brings out the best in the band for me.  Ending the album is "Hidden Self" and firstly I would like to say thank fuck there is not a slow and moody number that is a mixture of acoustic guitars and heavy trash riffs, there has been too much of a fashion for that in nu-trash metal releases recently and it has been annoying me.  What we have here is a mean and moody piece, but it is all power, all grind and it comes across pretty good if the truth be told.  It grinds slowly before reaches a nature faster crescendo, then it heads towards the end and the clear tones of the guitar guide the audience to the end of this EP.

I really want to like this, I feel slightly sad that it is sort of passing me by.  As I have said throughout this review, it is not the fault of the band as this is a well-produced EP and their performance sounds sharp, intelligent and one that will have fans of groove metal, trash metal and metal in general in rapture.  It could be one that takes them to a higher level, give them international attention, but for me it was just a good release with a few songs that I really enjoyed and a performance that I admire more than loved.  If you are looking for something in metal that is not full of keyboards and is as far from chart metal, I would recommend checking this out and making up your own mind.

3.5 out of five - Decent, getting there

Top track - I Executor

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