REVIEW: FOREVER STILL – “Tied Down”
Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Forever Still are Hell-bent on unleashing their eagerly awaited full length debut album “Tied Down” upon the world with full force. ‘Tied Down’ is the finished result comprised from a hybird of several EP’s released before it. From grand anthems to atmospheric powerhouses, something special this way comes from these relative newcomers.
As far as first impressions go, opening track “Scars” completely destroys any and all notions that vocalist Maja Shining is simply just a pretty face. Crossing between well paced, haunting, lullaby like verses that would course through your nightmares over to scathing shrieks in a manner that would see Lacey Sturm proud, the vocalist delivers both a raw, aggressive and powerful performance. Lyrically, Forever Still cut no corners in being emotionally revealing and their blatant honesty pays off. The inital, chilling moments of “Once Upon A Nightmare” are fleshed out with distorted vocals and electronic samples all of which add to the overall texture of this beautiful standout song.
If there were one initial observation to me made it is that Forever Still, rightly so, are still exploring in finding their own sound. Title track “Tied Down” along with a small handful of others would seem to suggest that the band have yet to find themselves comfortable enough to steer away from drawing on their influences. Hints of Flyleaf, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil (who the band are supporting on tour this year) all make an appearance both musically and vocally at different stages throughout the record. For a young band on their debut album this observation is strictly complimentary. It is seldom, even unheard of for a band to have found their sound on their debut record. Forever Still are not mimicking other artists but instead finding their own voice through what may have inspired them. The more comfortable they become the more their influences will begin to subside and only they will remain as does happen in some great moments on this album. If already they find themselves being compared to some of the best female fronted acts in hard rock and metal it is reasonably safe to say that the future ahead is bright for them!
More evidence of this bright future is shown in “Break the Glass”. Shining battles some of her inner demons and puts on no act when giving herself over to even the smallest moments such as the final chorus line “to convince myself I’m real”. In an age where so many artists are writing about the state of the world, politicians and every news bulletin that pops up while phone scrolling, it is always refreshing to hear an artist challenging themselves by drawing on their own personal fears and struggles to share with listeners, giving themselves to the song unconditionally. This is something Shining and co do with each song. Backed up by the musical muscle of the band, when it all comes together as it so regularly does on ‘Tied Down’, Forever Still become a force to be reckoned with.
Unafraid to be vulnerable, draw from personal experience and put it across through intelligent lyrics and an incredibly well played hard rock musical backbone, here is a band that is only going to climb higher on the “Ones to Watch” list. The record wrestles with anxiety, depression and yet embodies the spirit of perseverance and survival. As they continue to grow more into their own, one hopes that Forever Still will follow suit and continue to find strength in their honesty. Though what will come with that for the band may still be unknown at this time, one thing is certain, it is bound be a real treat. ‘Tied Down’ is a record fans will love, the band should be proud of and all in all a damn fine debut.