My first encounter with Forward was nearly ten years ago when they toured the U.S. alongside fellow land of the rising sun countrymen, Paintbox. I was besides myself in disbelief as to just how these over forty-years-old Japanese hardcore veterans (members of Deathside) could still manage to bring down the house following Artimus Pyle’s and Sunday Morning Einsteins’ crushing performances. It’s probably also why the venue lost power for a brief moment and why Paintbox’s gear kept fucking up during their set: Forward literally sucked the energy out of the building! This LP is a re-issue of an album originally released in 2000 and boy does it ever hold up some thirteen years later. Dose after dose of their patented “burning spirits” hardcore, though not with as many shredding guitar solos as on their subsequent releases. Every song is a crushing blow to the skulls of ageist nay-sayers and fake hardcore wimps. There’s some progressiveness strewn about with the addition of harmonicas and some dreary female back-ups to accompany the onslaught of Motörhead-esque drum charging and earth-rattling bass lines. For anyone not already privy to these maniacs, this is the perfect entry level record. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dig out my copy of Fucked Up!! to further reacquaint myself with my very own “burning spirit” within.
–Juan Espinosa (Prank)