"As Above, So Below (reissue)"

(Lost and Found)

01. Bone Crackin' Fever
02. Thunderhead
03. Macrocosm, Microcosm
04. Never A Know, But the No
05. We're Dicks
06. Apathy
07. The Unextinguishable
08. As Of Yesterday
09. When One Becomes Two
10. How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

RATING: 8/10

Lost and Found doesn't inundate the world with reissues, but when they do put something out, chances are you should pay attention and pick it up. That's definitely the case with FORCED ENTRY, a technical thrash power trio from the Pacific Northwest whose second album, "As Above So Below", remains one of the all-time unfairly ignored albums of the entire thrash era. "As Above So Below" was released in 1991, when the Combat label was becoming just plain Relativity and losing all interest in its metal roster (DEVASTATION's killer "Idolatry" album getting similarly shafted in the promotion department). But FORCED ENTRY was playing to a dwindling audience, too, the thrash crowd moving off into death metal pastures just as these guys decided to bring their A-game.

Some of the stuff here, like "Macrocosm, Microcosm", "Apathy" and "Bone Crackin' Fever", was flat-out ahead of its time, offering prototypes for the Gothenburg thrashers, the start-stop stutters of MESHUGGAH, even the squeals and sweeps of late-'90s death metal. "Never a Know, But the No" is at least as good as any of the band's peers cranking out heavy ballads at the time (I'll take this over any TESTAMENT ballad any day of the week, to name just one). And unlike a lot of the tech crowd, FORCED ENTRY remained unrepentant crude hessians at heart, with a trailer-park sense of humor on full display both on the simple, pit-inducing "We're Dicks" and the vulgar "How We Spent Our Summer Vacation" (also known as "Get Fucked Up", and featuring the best EXODUS riff EXODUS didn't write).

Not every song is a keeper — the second half, especially "The Unextinguishable" and "As of Yesterday", tends to lose focus and get a bit generic. But when FORCED ENTRY were good, they were stellar, and the best tracks on "As Above, So Below" are essential. They showed that these guys had the potential to take thrash metal to a whole 'nother plane, and had they emerged a decade later, they might have tagged along with any number of American and Swedish bands to make a bigger mark on the metal scene. Put 'em in the same boat as SADUS and CORONER, not in sound but in unappreciated talent falling on the deaf ears of the time, and rejoice that another best-kept-secret from the metal archives is now available (for now, at least) at sane and sensible prices.


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