Forward: Against Their Insanity 12"
At this point Forward are pretty much a hardcore institution... if my count is correct Against Their Insanity is their 6th 12", and they've also released numerous EPs over the years, so they have quite a bulging discography at this point. I know that a lot of casual music fans kind of lose bands when they have this many records, but I always love seeing the subtle and not-so-subtle changes that a band goes through over the years (after all, my favorite band is the The Fall!). Admittedly, none of Forward's records are THAT different from one another... when one of my friends asked me which record of theirs to get at their Raleigh show the other day I was honestly kind of stymied... my favorite Forward record, the While You Alive 12", is no longer in print, and it's hard to make an argument that any of their records are all that different from one another. However, if you follow the band there's a lot of new things here. The past few Forward records have almost been a little melodic (a trend that reached its apogee with the track "What's the Meaning of Love?"), but the band do as much of a 180 as you might expect on this release, taking more of a full-bore bulldozer approach to the triumphant Japanese hardcore they've always played. Basically, what that means is that the riffs are a little more complex and less melodic, the vocals are intense and barked rather than quasi-sung as they were on their past few releases, and the rhythm section is all go no slow. There are also a few wholly new tricks in the bag... to my ears, "Murdered" sounds like straight up thrash metal (it could almost be a Kreator song or something like that), but Forward's style and approach are so cemented at this point that it will always sound like them no matter what they're playing. So yeah, I can see how someone might shrug their shoulders and say "eh, do I really need another Forward record?," but in my opinion this thing rips and is well worth the dedicated fan's time.