Record Swap: McNulty vs. Kim Jong Un
In this edition of Record Swap, Kim Jong Un tries to brainwash ace detective McNulty into liking his music. Will the nefarious dictator succeed, or will McNulty’s drunken yodeling win the day? The rules for Record Swap are simple: no research, no foreknowledge, no mercy. – W.
Kim Jung Un’s Assignment: Jolly’s Audio Guide to Happiness Part 2 (2013)
I chose Jolly’s Audio Guide to Happiness Part 2 for two reasons: 1) I haven’t ever heard anyone in the Toilet talk about the band and 2) I doubt it would be very popular in the Toilet; it’s not filthy, grindy, deathy, or Satany. I do think it could be a rewarding listen to whomever gives it a shot though… – McNulty
Awesome intro, though for a second I thought I was listening to a new age self help tape for a second, until it went 20 seconds in. The musical part of the intro kinda reminds me of Skinny Puppy‘s “Jaha” (from The Process) in a way. Then “Firewall” kicks in, and goddamn what a doozy! At first it sounded alterna-metal a la Deftones, then progs and winds its way on up to something melodic and classy as all fucking hell. It goes from 0 to 60 at a cool, reassured pace, all while still letting each instrument stand its own ground. And gotta love the straight-outta-Akercocke‘s-dry-cleaner suits! Even Covenant doesn’t have suits that sharp and ready to crack in half from all the starch! The drummer definitely has some jazz chops, to boot.
The rest of the album follows the same suit, with a cool, controlled mood that at times veers off into Deftones territory, only to kick up the tempo and the every-instrument-speaks-for-itself feel. Not really finding any weak points on this one. – Kim Jong Un
McNulty’s Assignment: Forefather’s Curse of the Cwelled (2015)
Rather than writing an introduction, KJU tried to send me a propaganda image of himself as a sexy body builder. I’m not falling for it. – W.
Record Swap sure is fun! It got me to try an album that, if casually recommended to me, I’d have stopped at the mere description of the band… and if not that, I’d certainly have stopped after the first track. But here we are, and I’ve listened to Curse of the Cwelled by Forefather roughly 10 times front-to-back. It turns out to be something that I quite enjoy.
Like the rules say, no prior research of the band! So here is MY description of Forefather: a mix of thrashy black metal and power metal riffs, topped with a mix of vocals from the same two families of music. While on paper these two genres (black and power) might seem to mix as well as oil and water; Forefather has mastered that balance. A typical song by them will alternate between speedy riffs very similar to Skeletonwitch and battle-matching riffs that sound like they could be taken right from Amon Amarth‘s catalog. The transition is seamless, and equally impressive is the band’s ability to change tempos so skillfully and so often.
Meanwhile the raspy vox are used generally during the verses and the operatic portions sung during the choruses. Many of you know I’m not a big power metal fan, so I was prepared to dislike the searing, powerful choruses; alas I found them to be quite catchy and strangely suitable for the music. Just like the transition between the riff styles, the mixture of vocals may initially sound off-putting but the band does a tremendous job of pulling it off.
“By My Lord Will I Lie” is the perfect example of all the band’s elements coming together for an insanely catchy tune with killer riff and drumwork.
We’ve established awesome riffs and vocals, catchy tunes, and a genre mixture seemingly unique to the scene; so we have a great album right? Well it’s very good, but I can’t subjectively call it great. Forefather has the formula for their songs down pat, as there’s very little experimentation among the tracks. Once you’ve nailed the verse/chorus pattern down, you’re going to hear it on just about every song on here (though there IS a variety of different paces, from semi-ballad to face-shredder). So I have to subtract some points for lack of experimentation with song structure. One more small gripe: there aren’t many guitar solos on here, something that really could have spiced up the flow of the album.
When all is said and done, Curse of the Cwelled gets an 80% on the McNulty-Meter. It won’t make my top 10 list, but I still find myself jamming many of the tracks while at the gym. I’m glad that I got to participate in the Record Swap program, because otherwise I would never have cared enough to jam the full album and appreciate everything that Forefather has to offer! – Jimmy McNulty
If I was forced at gunpoint to declare a winner, I’d give the day to tailored suits. Hopefully you can all find something to enjoy in the music here, though. Want to get involved in Record Swap? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.