Danish guitarist Torben Enevoldsen certainly has a lot of music within his mind to put out to the world. Most recently heard of adding a dazzling six-string display to last year’s Fate album ‘Ghosts From The Past’, Enevoldsen has actually been an integral part of Section A, Acacia Avenue and Decoy, as well as releasing a trio of solo albums.
However, back in 2006 a self titled debut appeared from FATAL FORCE, another of his projects, championing a classic brand of Melodic Hard Rock / Metal that made many a band household names a couple of decades earlier.
Notable for also featuring the undoubted talents of drummer Daniel Flores and singer Mats Leven, Fatal Force’s debut made a solid impact but due to the fact that everyone involved were all extremely busy, the second album got delayed as the years moved forward. Anyway, Torben still found the time to work on new Fatal Force songs. All the fresh material was completed by the end of 2009, but schedules never aligned for the initial line-up, so Enevoldsen decided to make some changes.
Powerhouse vocalist Michael Vescera (Ex-Loudness, Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) joined the band in early 2010. He wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals in his own studio in Nashville. New Danish drummer Dennis Hansen completed the trio, and the results finally hit the streets with the new 10-song album “Unholy Rites”.
Thankfully the time away hasn’t blunted the Fatal Force attack, as the bristling Dokken-esque riffs and melodic harmonies with an eye on Euro Metal still hits home hard across the ten universally excellent tracks on show in “Unholy Rites”. Unsurprisingly Vescera proves to be a match for the biting, snarling guitar work and bass thundering, with his precise Geoff Tate like power adding a welcome slice of melodic sheen to a reassuringly punchy album.
Enevoldsen, also adds a little keyboards to the mix (he also plays bass on the album), allowing for the songs to have swathes of colour and atmosphere.
You really could start this album on any of its tracks to reveal the sort of hard hitting Rock that fans of Dokken, Lillian Axe or Scorpions will lap up. However I’m sure that followers of Primal Fear and alikes would find much to enjoy in the sharp attack of the guitars and pounding kick drum as well.
When you have an experienced songwriter and instrumentalist like Torben paired with the excellence of Michael Vescera you know that songs like “Run For Cover” or the shimmering, mid-tempo harmony laden “No One Will Listen” will have serious credibility in the exigent melodic metal scene.
Vescera shines with his multi-octave range to make the title track “Unholy Rites”, an instant toe tapping head banging highlight.
Enevoldsen explores some Criss Oliva / early Savatage territory on “Higher Ground” where drummer Dennis Hansen gets the chance to propel the arrangement with a little bit of his double bass skills.
“Listen To Reason” shows a majestic, yet powerful swagger, while the latter day Sabbath / Tony Martin howl and growl of “House Of Pain” illustrates Vescera’s intensity and Fatal Force’s potency.
Add to that the insistently jabbing riff of “Lessons In Evil”, the more keyboard oriented, but still guitar led “Fight” or the cracking vocal harmonies and histrionics of “In Silence” and Unholy Rites is an album that demands you sit up and take notice.
Crossing the boundaries between US styled ’80s Melodic Heavy Rock and current Euro Melodic Metal, Fatal Force have unleashed an album that crushes while it caresses and seduces with its intensity.
Most impressively this newly forged trio sound like a well oiled machine that have spent decades together, rather than a few months.
“Unholy Rites” is a kick ass album, full of energy, melody and great performances & production.
Bang your head!
01. Run For Cover
02. Unholy Rites
04. Lessons In Evil
05. In Silence
06. No One Will Listen
07. Higher Ground
08. Listen To Reason
09. Enter The Night
10. House Of Pain
Michael Vescera: Vocals
Torben Enevoldsen: Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Dennis Hansen: Drums
FATAL FORCE – Unholy Rites (2012)
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