I was in the middle of writing a review of an entirely different album, when something else came up. "Tied Down" by Forever Still is what came up. Forever Still is a "melodic hard rock band" (Their words, but accurate). My first impression was that I kinda like these songs and never wanted to skip anything. But it's grown on me. I now think this may be an early 2016 contender for me.
Forever Still is not metal. It's important to point that out, because I listen to tons of female-fronted metal bands and I'm so used to metal that it's become my point of reference. The vocals are a more traditional rock/country style, with belting, soaring notes and a sense of sincere emotion. Lead singer Maja is not playing a character. Weird thing is, I was confused by that. I kinda forgot. I seriously spent time trying to classify it as a thing, before I realized that I was just totally acclimated to weird dramatic vocals.
But let's get to why this is here. I've been listening for two weeks and am now singing this album in the car. It's made me realize that I have to shelve whatever and get to writing about this instead. Maja's got what I'm calling a stadium voice, like a pop diva being a team player in a rock band. Forever Still is a vocals-driven engine and you don't ever forget it. You'll see what I mean.
Tied Down is about depression and overcoming adversity. Going from a low point in your life to strength. Specifically, recovering self-worth after a terrible relationship. She's been beaten down and is rising from the ashes, man. Inspirational stuff. Yeah, it's well-worn territory, but it still makes for good music.
Instrumentally, it's rock with some metal riffs sprinkled in there, so Hard Rock. You don't really get a metal fix. But the vocals are big and versatile. There's even a little bit of screaming in a few songs.
It's worth mentioning how consistent this album is. I'm not skipping stuff. I don't even skip to get to songs I like more. That's pretty rare.
So let's get to the fun part, THE TRACKS!
Awake the Fire
Let's start with the most hit-single-sounding song. If I don't just pull the trigger now, it'll feel like an elephant in the room. It even has a video. This is the part where you'll either stop reading immediately, or go and start looking for this band.
Is that the big money-shot? It's one of them. Thing is, everything else is comparable or better. I even sang the last track the last time I was driving. You know how often that happens? That almost never happens. The last track is usually a system message on my display that it's time to skip back to track 1.
The Last Track: Tied Down, or the theme of the whole album simplified.
You could argue that this is the weakest track, since it's simpler than the rest of the album, being so chorus-heavy. It's a diva power-anthem. I love it.
"SEEEEEeeeeee what you've done to MEEEEEEeeeee, tried to break me
SeeeeEEEEEEEeeeee all that I can beeeeeeeEEEeeEEEee, when I'm not tied down."
See how simple and generic that looks on paper? Yet it has this almost this almost Disney-like magical quality. It's the sound of it that works on me.
Nightcore has an anime-ass cover of this. It's not bad. It came out last week, so good hustle.
Miss Madness: My Favorite Track
Here's the track that wins for me. This one's about suicide. What kind? Overdose with blissful hallucinations. Its verses are dramatic lilting fairly-tale-telling, but it all ends on some full-on stadium power notes. It's sonically interesting, that's for sure. In the build-up to the first "I'll never die", you just know it's gonna be on. And sure enough, we have a sort of progression from goth to diva. Or, or...I'm just reading too much into things like I always do. But the moment sure feels like that. So does the whole album, actually. From gloom to power.
Here's the draw-my-life-looking lyrics video. Not bad.
So what do you think? Am I an idiot or on to something? Either way, I've got more of these in the pipeline.