Fullforce is a Swedish Heavy/Power Metal band that formed back in 2008. While the band has come out of nowhere a few years after forming, the group actually has some notable members and lineage to it, such as drummer Anders Johansson and founder/guitarist Stefan Elmgren of Hammerfall fame, and recently joined bassist Tommy Larsson of Dream Evil fame. Many may also know co-founder/vocalist Michael Andersson of the band Cloudscape or Act 3, Carl-Johan Grimmark of Fires of Babylon and Rob Rock. With an impressive line-up, this group quickly shapes up to be something many instantly dread who have heard enough like this: A supergroup. With that said, does this band manage to create a solid Heavy Metal meets Power Metal recording that will live up to the expectations of fans to the style, or are we looking at another generic or boring supergroup release?
First of all the production to the album is a little muddier then it probably should be, leaving things a little muffled and lower quality then you would expect. This also becomes an issue through the distortion on the guitars, which is actually pretty heavy and gives it a good bite, aided nicely by a strong bass presence that’s not quite felt, but you can pick up on it and it’s contributions nicely. The drums sound great, but with the distortion used, the cymbols add to it and give the quality sort of a white noise issue with it’s more eightie’s Rock meets Metal kind of quality and atmosphere. That isn’t to say the drums are bad, they are solid with the bass kicks having more of a thud to them that works with the sound the band is trying to go for, and the snares heard nicely with a slight echo to them as, though the cymbols could sound a little better. All of this works well to add fills to the music and give it a richer sound. The vocals are your typical clean singing approach, having a slight nasal sound that varies between a mid-range to a more powerful higher range that can bring more of a toned down Russell Allen or Masterplan sound to the release, which works well for the final product.
Musically, much of the album is pretty good, and can sometimes can show signs of a Progressive input through the keyboards, though not one that really takes the album in that direction. “Heart and Soul” does this right before the guitar solo thanks to the keyboards that suddenly appear and give it a little more of a space-vibe to the song for a short moment, which is reminiscent of the contributions at the start of “Mythomaniac”. This song becomes the first to really stand out differently on the release, and shows the Hammerfall influence from the two members of the group who spent time in that band. For the most part, the album seems to have more of a Dream Evil vibe to it with an early eighties Metal sound and a Space Rock influence to it at times that gives the album a more stylish approach, especially when the vocal performance really becomes more enthusiastic on tracks like “None of Your Concern” that show more more of a Rock attitude then anything. The history of each member seems to be showcased within the music, and a strong reference to a specific band’s sound can be felt in just about each song, and that quickly becomes established at the start of the album, though in this case it’s not so bad since Fullforce manages to retain a fluid sound to it that the listener is greeted with on “Mythomaniac”.
Much of One comes off rather melodic with that Rock attitude backing it up sometimes. Many of these tracks are great and catchy in their own right, but you can’t help but think something is missing here at times. “Open Your Eyes” is one of those tracks, and while the song is just really good and very catchy, you can’t help but sit back and listen to the chorus and expect a little more. The song is powerful and really emotionally driven, but you can’t quite feel it in the vocals. The approach works nicely for the song, but you sit back and don’t feel that same kind of emotion in them as you do the music. You wish that maybe there were some layered vocals, or even just backgroun vocals supporting the main chorus vocals at times to give them as much energy and passion as the music gives off, leaving the listener waiting for a strong performance to really make the song feel complete, but it just never comes, which is very disheartening, especially since this happens more then just on this track. Of course there are times they do that with the vocals when it’s just not actually necessary, such as with the more epic-sounding “Suffering in Silence”. The music itself is a little lighter and not as thick as the tracks before it, having more of a galloping vibe to it that really has a strong vocal performance in the first place. However, the chorus does have some brief background vocals as well, though it’s only really one line in the chorus, as three later prior to a bridge to the guitar solo. While they aren’t necessary, and thankfully not overused, they add to it, and just make you wish they did more of it on other tracks.
Even with that white noise kind of sound the heavy cymbol use and guitar distortion ultimately gives the thick, muddier sound of the album, One has some really good songs. “Heart and Soul” is a strong track that has more of a ballad feel to it, but in a more traditional Power Metal approach. The whole song has a more emotional atmosphere to it, but again the vocals feel a little lacking to match that enviornments that they establish. “Rain” also makes for a strong track that really shows the best from the band right from the start of the track, and “Fathers Spirit” really captures that eighties Rock vibe with some great Heavy Metal attitude and beautiful keyboard work to top it all off and give it a stirring, hard hitting heart-felt performance. And for the most part, that’s what Fullforce tries to give with their music, and obviously they manage to succeed throughout the release, but sometimes more on one track then another.
One makes for a solid debut album from this supergroup called Fullforce. While it has it’s issues, the album does manage to tug on the heart strings here and there with it’s emotional performance and atmosphere set up by the music and vocals, whenever some extra effort is really put into them. Overall, the effort does it’s job well and though the atmosphere feels a bit too thick, it gives off the vibe of an album that should have come in the mid-eighties, and for that it works in the band’s favor at times. If you enjoy your Metal with some ballads and a Hard Rock approach, this effort is well worth checking out, and if not, it’s interesting to hear how the band member’s history and time with other established acts come into play to create a sound unique to this group and not necessarily come off as just carbon copied influence that should have been on said band’s next album. One leaves the listener happy with the overall experience, but wishing the quality was a little clearer, and with a little less use of the cymbals.