Forbidden Riff are a three piece thunderstorm from the south west of England and they have a self released album tucked under their studded belts that's an organic sounding throwback to the much loved style of the NWOBHM movement.
'Fields Of Misery' is a raw sounding, sometimes savage album and I wish more bands sounded a bit more like this production wise. I'm fed up with over polished metal where you can't hear any separation between the different guitars, where everything has been tweaked until it's one big shiny turd of over produced mess. 'Fields Of Misery' sounds dirty, rough with overdrive. It sounds like it could have been recorded in someone's bedroom with a "push play and record at the same time" tape deck, It wasn't of course, it was recorded at PMC Studios in Plymouth but you get my point. It sounds alive the way great rough metal music should sound.
Just listen to those old Slayer records like 'Show No Mercy' and 'Hell Awaits' compared to what modern bands like Avenged Sevenfold come up with and you'll see what I mean. This is music that can breathe on its own and doesn't need to rely on life support from a producer's hands.
With a bass playing Irish vocalist comparisons could be drawn alongside Thin Lizzy..... but the comparisons wouldn't last long. Whereas Lizzy had an unremitting smoothness to their sound, due in no small part to Phil Lynott's legendary whisky (in the jar) soaked tones, the Riff Army have a ragged edge that stands them in good stead for a more metal approach with vocals that are more at home in the realms of Cronos than the Dublin 'Nightlife'. 'Into The Abyss' and 'Welcome To Hell' (not a cover despite the sometimes sound-alike nature of the vocals) show that Forbidden Riff must certainly be banging their heads to the likes of early Venom and classic Mercyful Fate in their down time.
But one stumbling block for me is the rather limp disappointment of 'She's A Big Teaser'. It's a fair enough track musically, a pretty good one if I'm brutally honest but for me it's held back from it's full potential by cringe worthy lyrics that could have cum from the pen of Nigel 'Lick My Love Pump' Tufnel. Still every band has a little Tap in 'em, even the almighty King Diamond let us know that 'Nuns Have No Fun'. 'She's A Big Teaser' is definitely Forbidden Riff's Tap moment, let's just not mention it again and move on. On the plus side the stunning title track provides the album's most unmissable moments. Drawing influence from the blood soaked history of Europe's darkest days in the first world war it's an anti war epic that's reminiscent of the sombre melodic style used by Iron Maiden for 'Fortunes Of War'.
Nine original compositions are capped off with the final tenth track, a faithful rendition of 'Breaking The Law'. It wraps things up nicely and makes me want to recommend 'Fields Of Misery' to anyone I think might like the sound of three blokes jamming their love of old school metal with no airs and graces. Overall this is a solid effort which aside from the odd dodgy lyric could still get your stereo shaking up to 6.66 on the Riffter scale