|Release Date||25 July 2019|
With the end of the month approaching, I found myself (as usual) skimming around for July albums I might have missed a few days ago. My search yielded generally good results, but, just as I was going over my picks for July’s Top Ten Albums, I chanced upon Forevermore, the sophomore album of the female-fronted British power metal outfit, Control the Storm.
And ho. Ly. Fuck. I hardly expected to find something this awesome with the end of the month so close, nevertheless something I had never even heard of before! Control the Storm displays an absolutely deadly amount of power metal skill, individuality, and vision. Between the gorgeous vocal harmonies of Firouzeh Razavi and the fuzzy synth lines that flood the background, my attention was torn from all places at once into a bunch of wonderful places.
Now, that isn’t to say I don’t have a couple issues with this album. And, as usual, I’m gonna get through those first, because I have so much praise for this record that you won’t even remember the bad stuff by the time you go check it out for yourself. My first issue comes in the form of disappointment in the album’s first minutes. ‘Darkest Fantasy’, the opener, begins with a fucking explosion of epic orchestrations, riding riffs, and destructive drumming that promise musical ascension, but all-too-quickly we’re greeted with the weakest melody on the entire album, rather than a kickass verse of glorious, shiny metal destiny. The song picks back up in the chorus, which is super strong, but it’s a shame that the verses are so forgettable. My second (and pretty much only other) issue is also with an uninspired melody, which arrives in verses of ‘Curse of the Voiceless’.
But that’s it. Aside from these, the melodies in Forevermore are absolutely killer. The deliberate vocals of Razavi manage to convey every emotion she shoots for, from aggression to longing, with relative ease and, as I mentioned before, the floating vocal harmonies add a really nice, almost neoclassical touch. The harmonies are especially cool in the Middle Eastern-tinged ‘New Era’, where they take on a more mystical air.
Following suit with the vocals is, honestly, everything else. Axeman Rich Shillitoe is a solo berserker, and Iliyan Vasilev beats the piss out of the drums in the best of ways. Additionally, the colourful orchestrations and keyboards, crafted by Raedon Mac, build immense atmospheres around the already-lively instrumentation without disrupting the band’s balance. And I suppose I can’t leave out the other driving force under the band, Paul O’Shea, who brings some juicy basslines, especially in ‘Hidden Wonder’, where he really shines. All of this raw energy is directed into massive, dynamic arrangements. Oh, and, the song intros are fantastic.
As far as favourites go for me, I have a few. ‘Follow Me’ is basically a cheesy 80s pump up tune, so, by the ultimate laws of the universe, I have to love it (but seriously. that fucking synthwork!). Then there’s the ballad ‘In the Night’, which begins with a beautiful piano/vocal feature before building into an awe-inducing climax. I also really like the closer, ‘Forevermore’. Aside from the cascading crescendo of the outro, it packs nearly as much variety in its thirteen minutes as the entire rest of the album, containing elements like folk, symphonic metal (think Amberian Dawn), and even a blurb of Tchaikovsky thrown in for good measure.
I’m sure I could go on about more favourites for another four paragraphs, but you get the idea. Forevermore is a sick work of metal, and Control the Storm have effortlessly thundered their way into being one of my favourite power metal bands. I’m excited to see what their debut was like, and I’m even more excited to see what they bust out next!
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