From the Netherlands come FEEDFORWARD with their first full length release “Barefoot and Naked,” boasting not only a unique style but “recognizable” vocals and “subdued” harmonies. Striking a balance somewhere between Progressive Rock and Melodic Metal, with perhaps the odd piano ballad thrown in for good measure, FEEDFORWARD are ready to wow the Progressive Rock world with their energy and power that has built them a considerable fanbase in their homeland.
However, I’m going to tell it how it is as a METAL reviewer writing for METAL lovers would tell it. Having listened to and enjoy vast quantities of progressive material both Rock and Metal, looking upon it as my speciality, but this is somewhere closer to 80’s Power Rock and Pop with just a dash of experimentation.
Instrumentally there is definitely talent, guitars are performed with competence, and rhythmically there is the usual skill and “Metal” technicality. Pianos and keys are similarly dextrous. Each instrument is played as though mullets and bouffant curly hair protrudes from every follicle bearing orifice or surface. Very unfortunately, the vocals could certainly do with some work, Biejanka can certainly pull off a mean vibrato, but she should really focus on staying in tune or just get a better auto-tuner as there are too many painful slips to count. While most will miss them, there are still large numbers of those who are sensitive to tune who will just find this particularly irritating. Drummer Pi should just not bother singing at all and vocals harmonies are by no means “subdued.” If that’s what they mean by “recognizable” vocals I think the word the may be looking for is either “bland” or “unoriginal.” I think progressive is a somewhat generous label for it as this really has all been done before, and to that end perhaps regressive or retro would suit. Riffs are pulled off in the usual style that ironically denotes “prog” along with the power rock attributes such as lots of chorus effects, power chords, stop starts and cheesy pinched harmonics. With dramatic, poppy piano pieces like “innocence” and rather trivial or vagrant instrumental hard rock rambles such as “Moving” the overall style is really just far too predictable to deserve being called “unique” or “progressive” considering that these words would suggest originality and musical forward movement
The songs are, in a broad sense of the word, good, easy to listen to, very catchy, lots of catchy hooks and harmonies oozing from just about all crevices and perhaps if you haven’t heard just about all of this before you may be impressed. This may probably appeal to lovers of early Power Metal or 80s Hair Metal, but for the rest of us I think not. The majority of the Metal community will neither fall into their fanbase nor even their demographic. You’re better off listening to EVERGREY who can maintain not only originality and versatility, but can actually sing competently. Sure they’d be entertaining on a live performance due to the easy-listening, simple format of their songs and the fact that vocal discrepancies can be easily blamed on settings, but I would not recommend buying this CD. This is a good effort, but not in the Metal world.
(Online May 16, 2007)