The Sun reflects off the ocean of steel as rows upon rows of ironclad warriors are approaching the lone castle. The thunder of their march echoing from the castle walls sends shivers through the spines of the defenders. On the top of the wall and in the towers men can only look at the approaching army and pray for their lives. And far far above, unbeknownst to the mortals the gods have focused their eyes upon this coming event and they are thirsty for blood. Down below, amidst the thunder and the roaring of war the Grey One leans against his cane and fixes his gaze towards the frontline where the attacking army has already reached the outer walls and the battle is about to begin, and a faint smile of anticipation lingers on his face. In the castle, the defenders are already firing their bows and preparing to pour boiling oil on the attackers. Though their numbers have lessened it is only by a margin and the attackers keep pressing on. The defenders would run out of arrows long before they could do any significant harm. Amongst their ranks a formidable weapon of war is approaching the castle gates: the battering ram. Weighty and hard to manage it is, and the men handling it are defenceless from the oil poured from above, but for a promise of greater glory they are bent on breaking the gates and turning this battle to their favour even at the cost of their own lives. Before the ram has even hit the first time oil is poured on the men. Instantly falling to their knees, holding their burnt faces they are trampled as more men detach from the ranks to lift the battering ram. Once, twice, three times it hits and the gates are starting to give way. With a fervent rage the men gather speed and rush for the gate accompanied by the encouraging yells from the men carrying the ram. The ram hits the fourth time and the gates give in with a rain of splinters. Within seconds the roaring army enter the castle to meet the defenders. The world seems to stop, suddenly everything grows quiet and all that can be heard are the screams of the dying and the sound of steel clashing against steel…
FOREST OF IMPALED is all about this. War the good old way when battles were won and lost in the fields and castles with swords and bows, not just by pushing a button or using all that hi-tech gear. "Forward The Spears" is just the right title to describe the warmongering found within.
"Forward The Spears" start off with an appropriate intro, the sound of a marching army and soundtrack-like orchestrated sequences. And then when the title track really starts all hell is unleashed. Brutally fast Death Metal onslaught! The singer sounds more like an outraged Uruk-Hai than human, the guitars spew forth blackened riffs and the drums pound away in a double bass infested barrage of blast beats. As an interlude we get some spoken parts and almost Jazzy bass lines. Nearing the end there are a few more sound samples from a battle. Wow, if you're not taken over by this then there's something very wrong with you.
During the next tracks there isn't much space for a breather. This is a relentless attack all ten tracks of it. Brutal Death influenced riffs are accompanied by a few Black Metal ones and overall these two styles are perfectly woven together here. M. Kolar uses more than just one tone and so there are both low grunts and BM shrieks and a few rasps. The use of multiple extreme vocals is one of the best things this CD has to offer. But the goods don't end there. The already mentioned riffage is astonishingly impressive and capturing and Duane Timlin is one hell of a skin-beater. Add to that the talented song writing and we've got a winning formula here.
The lyrics are, as you'd have already guessed, about war. But to my surprise they are actually very good ones at that. Not your usual hack-n-slash-ravage-their-dead-skulls-drink-their-blood-for-strength kind of lyrics. OK, there's a bit of that here too, but there's also some sparks of nearly epic brilliance. Although you can't really tell what M. Kolar is singing it's nice to know the lyrics are actually good. In fact they get mightily prosaic if not even poetic on a few occasions, which is something I did not anticipate from this kind of a band. Thumbs up for that!
I have to admit "Forward The Spears" is one of the best Black/Death Metal Albums I have heard so far. Highly energetic and highly aggressive. This should appeal to any fan of these genres. If you're not impressed by this then I can't help you. Besides, how could anyone deny the power of war-cries such as "Attack!", "Blood!" and "Devour!"!
Check-out tips: "Forward The Spears", "I Am The Temple To Eternal Death", "Sons Of Cain" (the drums sound totally wicked here!), "Into The Mouth Of Oblivion" and "Death I Have Become Thee". (Online September 19, 2003)