My review of BATTLE BRATT's comeback try "Seeds Of The Universe" had been one of the most scathing ones I ever delivered and I had been somewhat surprised that I could not find any other reviews anywhere, nor any mentioning. Well, it was not until a few weeks back when I received an email from Mato Aghetti, drummer of the band, shedding some light on this "phenomenon", apparently it was my review that led to him re-entering the studio and re-working the album, which now results in a disc titled "Forged In Steel", with the exact same track list (some songs were shuffled around a little, though), so what would await me?
Well, anyone expecting a full-fledged return to their sound of the Eighties lives in his/her own little world anyways, but the new album sounds a bit more like a hybrid between the sound they grew up with and a big modern influence, but compared to "Seeds Of The Universe" everything sounds a lot more cohesive and also heavier, more organic, which was mostly achieved by replacing a good chunk of the sequenced drum loops by actual drums, which makes a huge difference, if you ask me!
Now they have not completely redeemed themselves with me and my ears, as some of the drum sequences still sound a little odd to me, but even though it usually is not my cup of tea, it works, as it actually has a flow to it and does seem like a more or less logical continuation of how their sound might have evolved throughout the years. "Immeasurable Gain" is a pretty good example for this, with some modern, almost Industrial-like influences, but an immensely melodic chorus, which together has a certain appeal that I can't really put into words, but it's just there.
Two other things that saw quite some attention were the crunch of the guitars and Jim Kane's vocals, which sound a lot more powerful and thus lively than on the first try, where they sounded quite anaemic, but here the guys invested quite some work again, for the better, trust me. My arch nemesis off “Seeds Of The Universe”, “Inside”, saw the maybe biggest remake, as the horrendous "I ya ya ya ya ya ya" was thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge and replaced with a vocal harmony, which works wonders! And the keyboards now evoke memories of some 80s Pop (the best Pop there ever was!) and this song actually is transformed into one of my personal favourites on this disc, believe it or not!
I wish that I could say the same about “Pressure Syndrome”, but it still does not work with me in any way or form, even though the progress can be heard on this one as well, so now it is just a matter of taste, while the following “All That Remains” once more combines the melodies of yore with a modern sound in rhythm and guitars, which once more works! Same goes for “Keep On Living”, which already had been the best track before, and “Relieve Yourself”, which has a strong Pop list, being very mellow and melodic.
Now this, “Forged In Steel”, is a successful try to unite the past and the future, not all that glitters is gold, but the improvement is dramatic to say the least and like this BATTLE BRATT might very well find the interest of listeners and maybe also labels, thumbs up, folks, and kudos for taking criticism to heart!
(Online September 11, 2007)