It always makes me laugh when people say “Oh I only like metal” or whatever genre you want to pick. The people who make the music you love, it seems to me, always love something else.

Take Fore, as an example. The four piece have on their CV the likes of Skull Fist, Venom Inc and Massacre. You can forget that here though.

“Hombres” is predicated on two ideas: First, did you really like bad Religion in about 1994? And second: How much fun can you shove in to 22 minutes.

This has its roots in the “one song in one day” project. At the start of lockdown a who’s who got together to have some fun. The four here worked on that, found a mutual love of the punk rock of the Epitaph Label, and this is the result.

The opener, “Pet” on one hand gives you a clue as to what the whole of it is like – sonically at least – but the lyrics are a little more crude than elsewhere. The tale of a sex worker, I’ll be totally honest here and say I nearly turned it off after, because I assumed it was some kind of Steel Panther type of awful pastiche. It’s not.

It’s way, way better than that.

“Diagnosis” rockets along with a real melody and crunch – plus the bass groove rules. The longest, at 2 minutes 51 seconds, it is perhaps the most nuanced too.

“What’s Right For You” has a real gift for harmony, and the riffs that Taylor Nordberg has come up with really slash. “Churchill Quote” is a proper rock n roll thing, with the swagger to match, while drummer Jeramie Kling is to the ….urmmm….fore? On “It’s Not You, It’s Me. “If I had the guts,” sings Brian Stephenson, “I’d walk away from you.” And it gives a memorable hook.

Bad Religion and Pennywise are the obvious starting points for “Song For A Friend” – basically cramming 72 seconds of gloriousness in – “Movement” is another that sort of beats you into submission, but adds a real sneer.

It is surprising, really, just how clever this is. “World Won’t Wait” is more “metal” if you like. There’s just a taste in the riffs of something harder edged. In punk terms, this is more Agnostic Front maybe, and the feel that Fore would be fabulous to see live is never far away on “Find A Way” which is relentless.

There is just a sense that they’ve all really enjoyed this, particularly Nordberg, who is the guitarist in Massacre, and you can’t fake the vibe on “All Comes Crashing” and the likes. “Knocked Down” is another highlight, given that backing vocals carry a genuine menace, and “Today We Rise (No Tomorrow)” finishes the record with this though: “gonna fight for the truth, ‘cos there’s nothing else to do.”

That honesty, if you will, is shot through the whole of “Hombres”. Making a record because you want to, is surely the best reason of all, especially as – in honour of the Deep Purple and ZZ Top mash up of a cover  – these four sharp dressed men are clearly steeped in punk.

Rating 8/10

 

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