Brit metallers Forged in Black know what they’re about. Extant since 2011 when they stalked the shadows under the name Merciless Fail, the band have slowly honed their craft, never baulking at using the talents of industry giants such as producer Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest et al) when bands at the same level would have shuddered at such an ambitious gambit. Still, you don’t learn by treading water, and the band correctly identified that time spent with Tsangarides, however short (they recorded an EP, Fear Reflecting Fear, with the great man last year) could only benefit the band in every way.
They were right, and this year the band has reunited with Tsangarides to record another EP, Sinner Sanctorum. Over four tracks the band once again confirms its status as a genuine contender in the British metal arena, weaving together all the disparate strands that go together to form ‘traditional’ metal in energised and energising fashion.
The production, as you’d expect, is amazing – the acoustic guitars which bookend closing track Crimson Echoes sound as if they are in the room with you, but this isn’t a mere exercise in superior studio technique. Forged in Black are tidy songwriters too, with a nose for the classic British sound we all know and certainly love. At times they give off a whiff of the Priest – at one point (at the end of the excellent title track) vocalist Chris ‘Stoz’ Storozynski lets out a scream you’d swear had emanated from the very depths of the Metal God himself if you weren’t fully paying attention – at others there’s a healthy presence of Angel Witch at their very best in the air, but always there’s a classy veneer to everything the band attempts.
If you’re looking for perhaps a more modern comparison, then Grand Magus are a pretty good place to start; and if Forged in Black don’t quite yet write the full on anthemic gems that JC and co seem to hatch in their sleep, they are certainly the equal of that band in every other respect in this not-so-humble reviewer’s opinion. This is a band that’s well worth your further investigation.
Forged in Black will release Sinner Sanctorum on September 2nd