I grew up in Snohomish County, Washington- about 25 miles north of Seattle. Seattle is a pretty happening town now, with lots of bands, artists, cultural events, and industry icons like Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Boeing and Nintendo headquartered there, but back in the 80s and early, pre-Nirvana 90s, it was different. Back then, it was mostly weird, isolated rednecks that marched to the beat of their own drum. Bands like The Accused, Dumt, Date Rape, and *cough* Bigtop did their own thing and generally attracted almost no national attention. Forced Entry were no exception: they played a pretty unique brand of thrash that wasn't really like anything else out there, and aside from a small cult following, nobody ever really gave a fuck. To atone for my earlier Crazytown post, though, here is a look back at the mighty Forced Entry, my favorite band in 7th grade!
Thrashing The Helpless Down demo / Uncertain Future LP (1987/1989)
Forced Entry started off as a very good, but not super noteworthy thrash band. They were definitely on the heavier end of things, especially for 1989- I'd say they were one notch below Solstice / Demolition Hammer / Malevolent Creation-style "death metal." I put it in quotes because, as Lucho Metales and I often talk about, it really is death metal in name only when you compare it to Suffocation, Internal Bleeding, Pyrexia, and so forth. I'm lumping the demo in with this album because they're mostly the same songs (maybe even the same recordings? I don't remember).
This album is totally good, and you should definitely pick it up if you get the chance, it's just not as mindblowing as their second one! There's nothing wrong with it at all, but it's pretty fun to go down the thrash metal checklist and tick off items one by one:
- Oil painting on the cover, although they probably couldn't afford Repka so they got their buddy from Edmonds Community College to whip something up
- Lyrics about toxic waste and mutants:
Stagnant earth, chemical wastes
Chaos ruling, it never waits
Mutant cells, join as one
Lethal minds spell destruction
- Picture of themselves looking like they just woke up from a coma, complete with puffy high tops (see above)
As Above, So Below (1991)
Now this is a masterpiece of technical, progressive thrash! Imagine the precision and brutality of Dark Angel with the angular, progressive touches of maybe Cynic or something and you have an idea of what to expect. Although it is impossible without access to the Nocturnus time machine, it almost sounds like they were listening to a lot of Oppressor's "Agony," because the riffs are more than a little bit similar. You might remember the song "Macrocosm Microcosm," which got a fair amount of airplay on Headbanger's Ball, but that song is by far the weakest part of this album. The rest are full of technical, cock-smashing brutality like the lead track, "Bone Crackin' Fever":
The majority of the songs are long, twisting epics with tons of weird syncopation and meandering riffs (in a good way), but they do keep it very real with another thrash staple, the goofy party song. In fact, this album includes not one but two goofy party songs: "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," which is about bongs, administering cunnilingus, urinating on oneself, and other trappings of being a white trash metalhead. The chorus is "Get fucked up!"
The other one is "We're Dicks," which is a song that articulates their anti-authoritarian, individualistic philosophy and highlights their belief in personal freedom. I'll warn you right now that the language is a bit coarse, but if you can handle that, the song is simply splendid.
With an album this awesome, the cover art isn't really critical, but it's a nice bonus that this is a pretty sharp design, all things considered. The composition is a bit static because it's symmetrical, but the use of color is remarkably vibrant for a thrash record in 1991, and I really like the illustration style on the hands.
10/10 bloody axes
The Shore (1995)
Hey, nobody bats 1.000, right? Even the best bands fall short sometimes, and unfortunately Forced Entry is no exception. This isn't bad, but like Uncertain Future, it just isn't that awesome in comparison to As Above, So Below. Like a lot of thrash bands, they tried to slow things down and did a little of the groove metal thing, and nobody wanted that to happen. Leave that to Pantera, the masters of power groove. Forced Entry did it pretty well, all things considered, but it's just not what you came for, you know? I give them a pass on this EP because it doesn't suck, but I wouldn't encourage you to seek it out (and it's really hard to find).
5/10 bloody axes