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Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: Forever Young Viktoria - Howls Of Protest


Up until today the band Forever Young Viktoria and I never crossed paths, in fact the name didn’t even ignite the smallest spark of recognition. They are a four-man outfit from Gelsenkirchen, Germany and they are active as a band since 2010, when the remains of punk band CDC were picked up and used to form FYV. Now consisting of four members, Mirko Hodacki as vocalist, Stefan Doktor as drummer, Malk Borowi as guitarist/vocalist and Mirko Steigerwald as bassist, they started as a punk-oriented band. After two full-lengths, The Hardest Part Of Ending Is Starting Again in 2012 and Consent To Collapse in 2014, the guys are now ready for the release of their new work in the form of a 4-track EP called Howls Of Protest, which likely is a reference to their start as a punk band. Nowadays the punk influences are still clearly audible, with the aggressive vocal lines as its most striking representative. However, FYV’s music focal point definitely shifted towards metalcore quite a bit, best describing their tunes as some sort of hybrid form between the two genres.

Opener Feel The Rope starts with a soundscape of a mass protest before the song actually kicks in and it immediately grabs you by the throat. Fierce guitar and drum lines battle angry vocal lines to gain the upper hand, classifying this song as an aggressive form of metal. Probably needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway: aggressive in a good way of course. Bring out the circle pits and walls of death… And it in no way ends here. Next up is Human Error, a song that starts even more ferocious before settling into a slower pace, but definitely matching the aggressive atmosphere its predecessor unleashed on the unsuspecting audience. If you hadn’t figured it out yet, the third song, title song Howls Of Protest, makes things perfectly and loudly clear: aggressiveness is, among others, one of FYV’s trademarks music-wise. Here too the winner in the battle of being the most aggressive contribution to the overall atmosphere is undecided. The EP ends with Apex Hunter in which the guys take the foot off the pedal to secure an end of peace and quiet… Well, that is not entirely true to be honest, with a really, really huge dose of imagination you might interpret the slightly slower pace and aggressiveness in both music and vocals a soothing end compared to the rest of the songs, but in all reality it still is a feisty piece of metal.

So all in all this can be considered a solid piece of, well, punkcore, with the right dose of speed and aggressiveness in both music and vocal lines. The guys most certainly do not hide their punk roots, but they are also not afraid to show the ‘new’ direction they are evolving into. I’m going to take the liberty of assuming that this EP is only a try out to see if the new style fits both bands and fans, and if that indeed is the case I’m the first to reassure them: In my opinion, admittedly not knowing their previous work, there is absolutely no reason to change course or go back. This work has enough punk influences to satisfy the fans of the early hour as well as more metal- or hardcore oriented fans. If you are a fan of either of these genres or if you like your music to be spiced up with a healthy dose of aggressiveness, you should check this out.

Written by Henric van Essen

Forever Young Viktoria Facebook

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