FULLFORCE, the name's got a powerful ring to it, wouldn't you say? It is what one might expect of an act full of veteran power/trad metal players, including vocalist Mike Andersson (CLOUDSCAPE, SILENT MEMORIAL, PLANET ALLIANCE), guitarist Stefan Elmgren (HAMMERFALL), drummer Anders Johansson (HAMMERFALL, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), guitarist Carl-Johan Grimmark (NARNIA), and bassist Tommy Larsson (HEED). The music of debut, "One", however, does not quite match the expectations of power set by that forceful moniker. It is nonetheless a tasty album of glossy melodic metal and hard rock. Just know that you'll be hungry again an hour later.
Decent, enjoyable even, yes; but destined to end up one of 2011's most memorable melodic metal albums it is not. On more than a few occasions "One" sounds like FIREWIND's most melodic material, sans the guitar heroics and deep impact. The opening trio of cuts — "Mythomaniac" (the standout), "None of your Concern", and "Heart and Soul" — do make an impact, thanks to some pretty good chorus. Relatively speaking, "Rain" is a bit of toughie and also sports a quality refrain. You may also hear something along the lines of EDGUY-lite on "Open Your Eyes". On the ballad-esque "Father Spirit" one gets a vague feeling of EVERGREY during the keyboard-driven verses.
Whether due to a delivery from Andersson that could stand more oomph or a mix that could use more muscle, what "One" seems to be lacking most are knockout punches. Consider the difference between a firm nod of agreement and a triumphant fist thrust high into the air. There is nothing really negative here to report nor is there anything over which to gush. "One" is an enjoyable disc and aside from a few tunes that are no better than mediocre (e.g. "Bleed"), much of what you'll hear is several meters past average. The issue of most significance then is that "One" doesn't leave as much of a lasting impression as it should. Unless somebody brings it up in polite conversation at the next cocktail party you'll probably have forgotten all about it by year's end.