Forte Ruin - Forte Ruin (EP) (2015)

We always hear the music in our heads, the way we expect it to come out when we play. A certain tone, certain speed, just the right about of distortion. We can hear it in our heads before we even turn on the amps. Yet, it doesn't always come out that way when we finally hit the strings. And, try as we might, you can never plug your speakers directly into your frontal lobe and share exactly what it is you heard. You'll try. But when the finished product is out for mass consumption, it might not be exactly what you wanted it to be. Maybe that, above all else, is the tricky part to be in a band. Forte Ruin, a six piece band from Lahti, Finland, seem to have a strong grasp on what they want their music to be, and how they want it to sound. But with a string of influences from melodic death to strange, hyper-melodic psychedelic rock, their new EP might not be or say all that they'd hoped. Then again, maybe it does.

It's a strange merger of styles you'll find on this outing, and that is putting it concisely. Perhaps the most interesting outlier is the use of keyboards and piano throughout the record, be it the tingling of the ivories you hear on Alienated Humanity, or one of the many melodic breaks on the rest of the album. It fits, albeit in a much different way then you'd become accustomed to in any melodic death band. But more interesting than that is the repeated use of "the hook" in the vocal lines. The norm - harshly delivered vocals with a gritty edge - is confined the verse, while melodic choruses overtake everything else. If nothing else, it creates a strange contrast between one movement and the next, and punctuates what is a strangely catchy set of tracks. But more often than not, each of the three tracks feels slightly uneven; the vocal shifts and glaring changes in guitar style and tone don't always come off as organic. On the first listen, some of the switches from melodic death, to arena rock, to psychedelia, all of which can be found in Enter The Masquerade, may elicit a raise of your eyebrow. But on repeated listens, they can become off-putting.

Not every finished product is actually finished. The merger of styles and influences can be a tricky road to navigate without getting lost in the idea, more than the reality. Forte Ruin seem to have a grasp for what they want to accomplish, but on this EP, they fall short of that goal. Going forward, they'll be tasked with trimming some of the excess fat, be it in style or execution, because as we've learned, more isn't always more. This isn't to say they need to strip their music down to the bare minimum and start over; quite the contrary, actually. The foundations of something good are visible. But they'll need to decide what is necessary, and what needs to be peeled back and reduced. With a more focused approach and fewer step[s to the left and right of their center line, it shouldn't be too long before this six piece is back with something that better represents who Forte Ruin really is.


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