I’m one to remember bands. When they last put out an album, where they’re currently touring with or what is my band’s favourite track. I’ll always remember the likes of Forever Never. Hailing from Essex, groove based melodies soar between catchy hook lines and infectious chorus passages. Since debuting with ‘Aporia’ back in 2006 and the epitome self-titled that followed three years later I was hooked into their borrowed yet ultimately unique metalcore soundscape. A covers EP followed and Forever Never dropped off the map. Few knew of their collaboration with Skidred frontman Benji Webbe (although I can guarantee that if you’re reading this that’s probably changed) and the cover of Shaggy’s “Boombastic” (found below) that quickly became a fan favourite. Nonetheless, the band’s sophomore effort built the foundations for a very successful band that managed to chug and scream its way through pop tracks without becoming a Taylor Swift gimmick. The ability to blend polyrhythmic metalcore and melodic rock (leaning on those aforementioned pop tendencies) gave life to the little band from the UK.
Ten years after the debut may not seem like that ‘long’ a wait for a fan of Forever Never, especially when you consider the releases in between but for some (including me) the thirst for another “Broken Kingdom” or “Send Me A Sign” left a gaping hole that only the boys from Essex could fill. My biggest beef with their ‘Speak Up!’ EP is that it’s a [fucking] EP.
Since their covers EP back in 2011 the band has done some soul-searching, some talent shifting and after five-whole years we’re graced by yet another EP. I shouldn’t complain too much as ‘Speak Up!’ only justifies why I felt like I was waiting forever [Never] for new music. If you had any inclination to love the band’s previous efforts, their 2016 offering should fit the bill, even if it’s only twenty-six minutes long…
All whining aside I enjoyed (read: enjoy) Forever Never’s latest piece of pop-inspired metal tomfoolery. With serious contextual tones hidden in the tracks within I found it incredibly hard to not sing the chorus lines or stop the natural banging of my head (this made for some arguably dangerous driving). The band’s leading single continues on the path of highlighting the events of today. Lead singer Renny states: (the track in question is embedded below)
“What’s scary about “We Won’t Save The World”, is that I actually wrote the lyrics two days before the Paris shootings. There is so much conflict and hate happening around the world right now and everyone wants to point the finger of blame with, at times, little understanding of the true political agendas of the world’s leaders. “WWSTW” comes from a perspective of love; we can’t change some of the devastating events occurring across the globe right now but we can believe in a better future that starts with every one of us showing more compassion and standing up for love – something we can all get behind surely?”
It’s a relevant discussion; and one that doesn’t have a positive answer in place. Regardless, it shows the bands’ musical everyday awareness as well as an ability to tie in today’s socio-political themes into intelligent song writing. But the music doesn’t stop there. Re-hashed ideas pop up in the album’s introduction inspiring themes of the sophomore’s “Eradicated” soundscape, instilling the electronic vibes of that particular tracks introduction and capitalizing on the repeated “stand up for what you believe” before launching into the typical Forever Never groove-fest. ‘Speak Up!’ needs to be taken with a grain of salt however for as much as there is to adore about this Essex based act, there’s a lot you’d like to see these guys do. It’s not so much a case of wasted potential, rather you’d prefer to see some more of the nostalgic stylings of the debut enter the fray, or watch as the sophomore-sound melts away any doubt the listener may have about future Forever Never music. Still, these guys could be waiting for that all important full-length to blow away the modern day listening community. Teasing us with this “sampling” of what is to come.
Tracks come and go, but for the most part lines of “Pray”, “We Won’t Save the World”, “One Life” and the album’s title track will get stuck in your head. “Pray” highlights the album, even though all the focus is on the beginning and end of this little EP. Gang shouts punch through the speakers followed by some of the band’s tightest song-writing to date. The ability to blend atmospheric atmospherics with the atypical “junz” of progressive metalcore and well placed screams adds to the contextual lyricism of Renny Carroll. His vocal dexterity stretches across the spectrum. Even vocal phrasing opens room for quasi-rapped verses, gang shouts and emotive chorus lines. At a contextual level the track continues the themes found within the EP’s lead single, “We Won’t Save The World” and justifies any level of personal enjoyment for the listener. “One Life” bolsters the band’s 2016 effort adding hook after hook. If there’s any band’s tinkering with ideas in the back of their father’s garage, they should look to songs like these for inspiration. Forever Never show you can write cliché, just make sure it’s emotive enough to grab the listener by the core. Appeal to their utter enjoyment and get stuck in your listeners’ head.
These boys have fun. Period. Why else would they release a karaoke version of their “One Life” single?
Overall, it’s great to see these guys touring and releasing new music. They need it, Essex needs it and whatever your opinion on commercialised metal, it’s no wonder why these guys are so successful at what they do. ‘Speak Up!’ nails the band’s brief; bombastic (or is that “Boombastic”?) riff work, catchy hook lines and enough melody to sate even the most elite of metal’s community (whether they admit liking it or not). Forever Never are back it seems and while ‘Speak Up!’ may not be 100% convincing, the outright infectious-ness of their music is.
Renny Carroll – Vocals, Mitch Witham – Bass, George Lenox – Guitar, Frank Ransom – Guitar, Sam Curtis – Drums
‘Speak Up!’ tracklisting:
2.) We Won’t Save The World
3.) Never Giving Up
4.) Living A Lie
6.) One Life
7.) Speak Up!