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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Force 10 - s/t

Name: Force 10
Album: s/t
Year: 1981
Style: Metal, Prog
Similar Bands: Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, Bad Co., Styx, Fungo Mungo, Animal Bag
"One Word" Review: Heavy-mystical-sinister-Arena-Rock
Based Out Of: Seattle, Wa
Label: Warner Bros.

Force 10 - Cover & Record
Force 10 - Back & Record

Force 10 (1981)
  1. Watanabe 3:55
  2. Hypnotized 4:56
  3. (I Feel So) Amused 3:43
  4. Pictures (Of My Favorite Things) 6:02/
  5. Mountains Of Love 3:51
  6. Show Me Your Love 3:59
  7. Bastinado 3:47
  8. My Future 3:24
  9. I'll See You 3:09
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Griff Stevens - Vox, Woodwinds, Guitar, Computer Grunts, Art, Photography (Russia)
Tom Brighton - Vocals Guitar (Russia)
Rich White - Vox, Keys (Russia)
Larry Tuttle - Vox, Bass (Russia)
Jeff Swisstack - Drums (Russia)
Simon Levy - Art Direction / Design
Don (The Pope) Beaudreau - Symbolic Funtion
John Stronach - Producer

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. The cover and back show a unique combination of art direction, the energy and the hair on the front make the band seem like a metal band, however, the computer font and effects that the pictures are digitized through make the band seem like they could be a new wave act. The deciding factor which makes me think this will be more metal than new wave is the comment on back’s the liner notes: “Let us know if this one gets you hot.” But I do like their artistic choices and energy.

Album Review: This band from Seattle produced an album before this first Force 10 album under the name Russia, which it seems the record label changed if fear of the cold war and a negative first impression. I believe there was another Force 10 album never released that can be found on the internet too.

“Watanabe” begins with a stomp-beat drums and bass groove. Rhythm guitar is layered over the d/b & a heavier electric guitar is added. Now the song becomes metal. The vocals are similar to Led Zeppelin: gruff, nasally and higher toned. The chorus is made up of a choir of vocals chanting together. All the while a bouncy keyboard section is employed, bringing urgency to the song.
“Hypnotized” had more of the arena rock-metal bouncy melody. The vocals follow the Led Zeppelin chanting style, and they delve into the grating Ac-Dc screech at its most emotional. The music forgoes metal here to mix in a heavy prog influence. The synth is very heavy in the instrumental break, bringing with it an image of fog rolling in across the arena stage and flashing lights in sync with the chaotic keys.
“(I Feel So) Amused” has trouble getting started. The liquid guitar shuffles along solo for a bit, only accompanied by vocals. Then a grand sweeping prog wave surges in the production, lifting the song out of drowsiness to a Supertramp awareness. The short and repetitive chorus is actually pretty good, as it builds in strength with each utterance, rather than repeating to just fill time. It falls into a good groove.
“Pictures (Of My Favorite Things)” starts off with quiet watery strummed guitar, acting like a ballad. The pace builds thanks to the drums and addition & increased volume of other musical accompaniment. Spoken lyrics come over the music like a police report. And the song enters a bombastic production with the heavy guitar and jittery keyboards interacting in full force at the same time. This song is quite theatrical: similar to, but not as grand as “Dr. Roboto.” The synth swirls and swoops around, with the cold, sterile feeling of a videogame. There is a rather long section of call and response between the chorus and the lead singer chanting “No.” Then we enter back into the cold synth environment and spoken word commands are uttered overtop.

“Mountains Of Love” feels like a terrible attempt to be Led Zeppelin lyrically, and the driving, side to side music pushes angrily along. The song completely lightens up and showers the listener in a happy, poppy synth sound familiar to Who fans who would fear the worst here. This song is kind of a disaster in its combination of section and bridge genres.
“Show Me Your Love” begins with a generic synth keyboard opening, and the Zep rip-off vocals add a sinister vibe. The whole song continues in that vein. It is a bold and egocentric song, full of self-esteem.
“Bastinado” is a bouncy song, sung in part like Bowie, but with terrible lyrics: “It’s a cold world for a boy without a gun.” That ruins any kinds of goodness the song could have. It is a fun bouncy story song, but man, does that chorus suck the life out of the song.
“My Future” is a funky guitar hook infused prog song. It too is sinister in its slinking advancing musical drive. But it is a one dimensional song that never really goes beyond the chorus.
“I'll See You” is a weird eclectic mix of synth sounds that feels more experimental than prog or metal. The effects range from traffic sounds to a carnival type of bounciness. The vocals sound like a prototype for many of the horrific rap-rock bands of the alternative music era. Each effect is doing its own thing and they don’t really form a cohesive song.

Stand Out Track: (I Feel So) Amused

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