Forfeit – The Lower Depths
I love riffing. There’s nothing better in hardcore and metal than when a band can be heavy but still have serious groove; When you can listen to a song, and you can get into the groove of it and imagine exactly what kind of reaction it invokes in a live setting, especially when it’s one of high energy and not just people standing around with their arms crossed. Forfeit absolutely excels in this area.
The Lower Depths is fast, heavy, pissed off, and best of all, loaded with solid riffing. All that aside, this is simply a really good record. It’s certainly mosh-heavy, but while this hinders some bands, it is Forfeit’s strength. There are no frills to be found here: just solid, heavy hardcore that pulls no punches. That’s not to say it’s your standard fare; it’s not just power chord progression after power chord progression like a lot of other bands that play this style of music. While I hate to continue to use the word – and trust me, you’ll probably be sick of it by the end of this review – there’s some really great riff writing going on here.
The albums begins with “Something Against Me,” a song that starts off slow before kicking into some great Integrity influenced shredding. The thing that jumps out immediately is the production. There is definitely a big contrast in the quality of production between The Lower Depths and Forfeit’s first release, the Visions EP. Every instrument comes through loud and clear, thought the bass isn’t always as audible as you would like. While the rawness of Visions was enjoyable, the upgraded production displayed here is a welcome change. The guitars are punchy and thick, the vocals are clear, and the drums sound tight and clean. As a result, this record is seriously heavy.
As the album progresses on, the listener is pummeled more and more as the riffing gets chunkier and, somehow, heavier. Throughout the record, the Integrity influence continues to be apparent. And while the influence is there, it’s just that; an influence. Forfeit doesn’t ripoff Integrity. Songs like “Cut Off” and “Bloodletting” (my favorite track) are good examples of the progression this album goes through. On top of the Integrity influence, there’s definitely some Pantera influence as well. Don’t skew that statement though, this isn’t a Throwdown record or anything. Where this influence comes through the most is in some of the heavier riffing as well as some Phil Anselmo-esque vocals.
Unfortunately, despite all that is good about this record, it’s short. While it’s easy to become accustomed to this in the hardcore genre, it still doesn’t mean that records like The Lower Depths shouldn’t be longer. Only two songs clock over three minutes in length, while the rest hover around a minute and half to two and a half minutes. All things considered, if length and a low bass mix are the only negatives, it’s a testament to the fact that this record is very solid. If you dig bands like Integrity, New Lows, Foundation and Shipwreck give The Lower Depths a spin.