Forever Still – Tied Down
I almost included Forever Still as part of the nine-part “Road Back to Music Journalism” series with which I launched this blog. This was the first band I discovered via Twitter. Forever Still followed me in January 2015, so I followed them back. When a band follows me, I usually follow them back, hoping I’ll find time to check out the music during my otherwise-busy schedule. (Occasionally I do find time; more often I don’t.) Forever Still followed up via a direct message with a link to the band’s music. I gave it a listen and was blown away. As I’ve followed the band since then, my appreciation for the band’s immense talent as singers, songwriters, and musicians has grown; with the release of Tied Down, I’m pleased to finally have an opportunity to write about Forever Still.
Danish heavy metal band Forever Still (Maja Shining, Mikkel Haastrup, and Dennis Post) burst upon the scene with its 2013 3-song EP Breaking Free. Tied Down is the band’s first full-length album. The 10 tracks on Tied Down consist of two previously-released 3-song EPs (Scars and Save Me), an additional previously-released song (“Your Light”), and three new tracks. 14 months after Scars dropped, the band’s hard work culminated in the January 15, 2016 release of Tied Down.
Album Review of Forever Still: Tied Down
Forever Still’s Tied Down is a tuneful full-on metal assault. I can hear the comparison to Evanescence and other progressive gothic metal bands whose loud, aggressive musicianship combines with soaring vocals, but Forever Still has even more heavy metal street cred. For example, Maja’s screams and growls, used sparingly but extremely effectively, confirm her metal pedigree.
The album opens with one of its angriest-sounding songs, “Scars,” featuring pulsing heavy guitar rhythms, dissonance, and metal screams mixed with soaring vocals. The initial trio of songs also includes the catchy, soaring metal number that first captured my attention, “Miss Madness,” a song with obvious cross-genre potential. But sandwiched between them is “Once Upon a Nightmare,” a dark lyrical masterpiece that slowly became a favorite. The music is relentlessly powerful, and the vocals convey a painful story that’s easily understood even before you give the lyrics a good listen – the “whispering worms” line is particularly inspired.
“Awake the Fire” follows “Miss Madness” with a fast, rhythmic, headbanging pace – the first half of Tied Down doesn’t let the listener catch his breath for long. “Breathe In” follows with a similar pace (and some of Maja’s well-placed growls).
“Save Me” is a Forever Still ballad. In other words, it’s a slow, soaring metal number, but the well-crafted lyrics aren’t exactly sweet. Like the band’s faster songs, there’s a blend of strength and pain that resonates as lyrical honesty. And power. “Your Light” is a little more mid-paced but still with the same symphonic power-metal feel.
This brings us to the three songs I hadn’t heard before receiving the full-length album in January. The first of those is “Alone,” stylistically similar to “Save Me” but with a slightly faster tempo and perhaps a bit more defiance. “Break the Glass” and “Tied Down” are good companions to “Alone,” with “Tied Down” perhaps featuring a heavier rhythm and more frequently utilizing stretched-out, soaring vocals.
In all, Tied Down is a heavy rock masterpiece, a truth that won’t surprise Forever Still’s growing legion of fans. With its latest collection of songs, this cadre of Danish headbangers has shown the talent to stand side-by-side with the best metal bands across several sub-genres. If you haven’t already, check out Forever Still’s raw, crisp power. Just wow.