For the most part, I am a fan of hybrids. Keep the hulkish corn and a huge portion of the other genetic hybrids away (apart from the Liger, obviously), but much of the rest of our bastardizations? Support.
But the line that separates the notion of approval and actual devotee is occasionally pretty stark. A Prius, for example: I’m very happy they’re around and a viable option for folks, but I’d rather walk and take the train than plunk down the bucks for a hybrid such as this that I’m fairly certain now comes standard with a laminated “next exit, pussy” sign at the ready inside the glove box. Happy people drive them, though.
The answer to your next question: No, I do not consider Nashville, Tennessee’s Forest of Tygers to be a Prius of the metal scene. But I’ll freely admit that the way they’ve been advertised – as a hybrid of hardcore and black metal – initially sparked the sort of recoil I normally reserve for delectable combos such as hair and chocolate, or peach schnapps and Strawberry Quik.
Understand, however, that I missed (ahem: avoided) the whole Botch / Coalesce / Dillinger insurgence of the late 90s/early 00s, so I’m probably not the best choice for cobbling together a review for a debut EP that’s been drawing comparisons to all three bands. So why am I here? Well, they duped me with their name, to be perfectly honest. My initial hope for a “Forest of Tygers” involved a horrific collision between NWOBHM and psychedelic black metal – a hybrid that would likely send more than a few of our readers peeling in the opposite direction.
But you know, this duo is doing just fine by me. Better than fine, in fact. Bruises essentially equates to four songs and 17 minutes of rewarding, mostly burly noise that I’d compare to the early years of Helmet and a handful of Amphetamine Reptile’s early roster, but with a darker, more metallic accent.
Black metal? It seems to me if a current band even sniffs the trunk of another band that melds “black-ish” elements, the whole shooting match gets thrown into a line-up alongside Abbath, Hoest and Meyhna’ch. I guess Gaahl is Kevin Bacon.
Hardcore? Sludge? Why not. All of it. All of the genres. Bottom line: This is really enjoyable stuff if you like the idea of your music putting you into a headlock and screaming in your ear for the duration of your 15 minute recess. Tell teacher and you’re dead.
And as long as we’re talking about screaming, I would say guitarist Jim Valosik’s vocals likely stand as the primary roadblock for folks coming into the game without much of a “hardcore” background. They’re one-dimensionally bellowed, which isn’t necessarily something I consider to be a defect (Hell, I’ve got Mortician’s Hacked Up for Barbecue rotting around somewhere), but they are prevalent enough throughout each of the four songs that they sometimes overshadow the goodness being laid down by the music. Perhaps having his wife behind the kit with her hands full lessens the amount of hugs available to remind him that everything’s going to be just fine. If you get a chance to see them attack from the stage at some point this year, be sure to give the ol’ guy some love.