Ever Forthright

Ever Forthright

01. All Eyes on the Earth
02. Latency and Tendencies
03. The Little Albert Experiment
04. Lost in Our Escape
05. Screen Scenarios
06. Spineless
07. Reflections
08. The Counter Shift
09. Infinitely Inward
10. City Limits
11. Dispose of Your Optimism
12. Clockwork

[12/13/11]
[Myriad Records]

You may know Chris Baretto; he used to be in Periphery, and is currently in Ever Forthright and Friend For a Foe. Over the course of a few months, Ever Forthright released single after single, seemingly teasing us. Now we finally have their self-titled debut record, released at the tail end of last year. Does it deserve to be considered with 2011’s great records?

The album opens viciously with ‘All Eyes on the Earth’ with spastic guitars and drums, mirroring bands that sound like they’re signed to Basick Records (this is a compliment of the highest order), showing that they instead want all eyes on them. Shortly in, you’re greeted to Baretto’s harsh vocals, which are fantastic. He can span the range for mid-highs to lows very well, and they sound like they have a ton of foundation under them. Then, you are introduced to his clean register, which are very well executed. His vocals sound like they are full of emotion and feeling, especially when singing a bluesy line as you hear often on the record. It’s also worth noting that it sounds extremely difficult to sing this type of music, as the key goes all over the place. Overall, his vocals make this album, as I can’t imagine anybody but Baretto performing the vocals on this record. Top-shelf performance, indeed.

The record is also unique in its jazzy overtones. I know hundreds of metal bands put jazz influence in their music, but Ever Forthright are one of a few bands that I know that do it so well. They don’t just play jazzy guitar lines on a distorted guitar, though axemen Nick Llerandi and Billy Anderson do do that on a few solos on the record. No, they make sure to go completely jazzy numerous times, with brushed drums, piano, clean guitar, and saxophone provided by the multifaceted Baretto. Jazz is my favorite genre, so to hear curveballs like this thrown in with such an adept skill level really blew me away.

Each member of the band pulls their weight.  The guitars, as previously mentioned, fuse metal and jazz exceptionally well and bring numerous moods to the album. Keyboards, brought to us by Kevin Theodore, leave their awesome mark on many parts.  However, I would’ve liked more keyboard overall, rather than just mostly the jazz parts. Jon Llerandi provides the bass, and it is massive, which is very welcome. And Jerad Lippi’s drums are just exceptional. He can add his personal flair to any part in a piece, where most drummers would just hit the drum on three and play the rhythm of the guitar on the bass drum. Very well done overall.

However, I have a couple of caveats with the record. Firstly, the band does have a tendency to over-rely on chugs.  Sometimes, when the guitar is performing leads, it is backed by an omnipresent chugging, leaving a lot to be desired. Also, the production is really good, but it just sounds really digital. Moreover, some parts seem quite derivative. There are a few parts that sound very Periphery-esque in nature, and the atonal guitar lines seem overdone. Finally, and probably my biggest problem, is the length of this record. This record is much too long, at 72 minutes in length. The shortest song is about three and a half minutes, and it is a jazz interlude. If this record was about twenty minutes shorter, I’d be content.

However, despite my criticisms, this is a super strong debut record. I now consider Ever Forthright to be an innovator with it’s very strong jazz influence, and if they can fix their shortcomings, who knows? They have the potential to be one of the best bands in metal, and I cannot wait for them to realize their potential. Well done.

Ever Forthright’s Ever Forthright gets:

4/5

– GR

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