Fullforce is one of many bands in the ever-extending line of HammerFall members. Since HammerFall is my favourite band, I’ve made it my goal to collect all of these albums, and Fullforce’s second record is one of the best ones I’ve heard yet! If you are familiar with Full Strike (another Stefan Elmgren band), you will certainly feel right at home listening to “Next Level”. Musically, this record is more on the traditional heavy metal side than the power metal. In fact, it’s really more hard rocking and simplistic, but it’s still very entertaining.
With 13 songs clocking in at 50 minutes, Fullforce really puts in effort to make each track standout. Things jump from the AOR/hard rock stylings of “A Night To Remember” to the anthemic “Awesomeness”, to ballads like “Smile at the World” and “Strongest Thing of All”. This is one record where it’s very easy to like some songs and dislike others, but ultimately, none of the songs are weaker than others, they are just different. Because of the relatively simplistic song structures, two things about “Next Level” stand out: the guitar solos and Mike Andersson’s vocals. While these guitar solos are not particularly flashy, they compliment the music perfectly. If you are familiar with Stefan Elmgren’s work in HammerFall, you can expect work of similar quality. The surprise to me was Andersson’s vocals. I found the vocals to be the weakest part of Full Strike, but Fullforce make no mistake in having an excellent singer. Andersson has a wide range that isn’t just focused in the high end. On the softer songs, his voice is very soothing; however, he also has a powerful approach that comes through on the more epic songs. The rhythm section on “Next Level” is perfect for the sound Fullforce has. Don’t expect too much double-bass, or really anything beyond a simple 4-4 beat, but that’s just the style the band plays. Again, don’t take simplistic as a negative. This is really the kind of music that you can throw on and not think too hard about. It has the same charm that bands like Riot and Scorpions have, just in a more metal way.
Fullforce’s “Next Level” is beyond being a satisfying releasing. If you take metal too seriously, you probably won’t enjoy this record; however, if you can just appreciate it as 5 guys making fun, catchy music, it is easy to get into. Everything I’ve heard from their first album indicates that it was more of the same. Hopefully the band can keep pumping out this kind of quality!
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"Back To Life"
"Strongest Thing of All"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott