Some bands are just an ingredient or two away from being a real force within their particular style. Such is the case with Belgium’s Forced Evolution. On their Sealed promo (to be followed by their first full-length), the band offers three songs of well-played, well-written, and slightly progged-up gothen-thrash. What the band lacks in originality they make up for with memorable riffs and excellent instrumentation. The missing ingredient is the vocals, which lack the refinement of the instruments, but do not prevent Sealed from being an enjoyable set of tunes.
Although there aremoments when the band teases a more progressive lean, for the most part Forced Evolution implement a fairly standard songwriting approach. Opener “My Asylum” rips right out of the gate with an infectious riff and galloping drums before settling into a grooved-up verse. Unfortunately the song verses also contain the typical and tired half-scream vocal style heard in so much of this genre. When paired with the often banal lyrics (“I give it all my heart and soul!”), “grunts and screams” guest vocalist Greg Fender comes across as just another modern metal cheerleader. Marcel Stoffels’ melodic choruses, while equally as derivative, are far more appropriate for the band’s sound as a whole.
The band possesses a very high level of professionalism for being unsigned, exemplified by the excellent production and top notch lead guitar acrobatics of Ulrich Schadeck. Graduating magna cum laude from the School of Jeff Loomis (hear the bridge of “The Man and The Liar), Schadeck has guitar hero (lower case) written all over him. All three songs are greatly enhanced by his solos, which have that rare technical and tasteful quality to them.
Regardless of the vocal shortcomings, Sealed is a catchy little release that reveals a band far ahead of the development curve. By tweaking the vocals and giving into their obvious progressive desires, Forced Evolution could become a major contender. Keep an eye on these guys.