Canadian punk/rockabilly band Forever Dead! serve up some darkly delicious tunes that appeal to our own Chris Hearn’s sense of hometown pride.
I come from a town in Northern Ontario, Canada called Thunder Bay. Itâs a pretty small, cold, rocky isolated, but exceptionally beautiful place where the term shag has a very different meaning.
Over the years, it hasnât exactly been a hotbed for good bands. Thunder Bay has had its share of groups, of course, but when I was young, they tended to be less than stellar. So, when I think of âlocalâ bands, I cringe a bit. But over the last decade, there has been a big improvement in the scene. One band that sticks out from the crowd is Forever Dead!
Forever Dead! have been around since 2005 (with a few lineup changes, granted) and have developed into a top notch band over that time. I got a chance to see them last year when I happened to be in town to visit the family.
That night they were opening for, of all bands, The Business. I was duly impressed by what I saw. They were a killer live act, sounded great, had a cool look and were entertaining as all get out. I was pleased to see a Thunder Bay band that could easily hold their own if they were to go on a national tour, and could definitely one day be a headliner.
They are pretty un-straightforward, quite frankly. By all appearances you would think they were a straight up psychobilly band, what with the upright slap bass and the ’50s chic of lead singer Chelsea Heart. They arenât. They mix all kinds of punk, pop and rock into their sound, generally quite successfully.
Yes, I have to say that parts of ‘Maim’ from their self-titled album sounds like No Doubt. When I listen to them I hear plenty of influences, many of them Epitaph Records based, I must say. There are many Rancid-y moments. But of course there are Reverend Horton Heat comparisons to be made, or Horrorpops, or Nekromantix, the Living End or the Stray Cats. Okay, ya, they do play a lot of psychobilly/rockabilly/punkabilly and they do it damn well, daddy-o!
Lead vocalist Chelsea Heart has one powerful set of lungs on her (as evidenced by so many of their songs but just off the top of my head, ‘Hand on the Gun’ really blows me away, pun intended), and the rest of the band members are no slouches either. El Gratzo on guitar, George Gratz on bass and Tyler T. Destroyer on drums not only have cool rawk nâ roll pseudonyms, but they play well together, which always looks good on a resume or report card (their real names are George, Tyler and Jesse Gratz andâ¦hey, wait, I see a trend!)
I have to say, although Forever Dead! were good live, their latest self-titled album sounds even better than they came across on stage. This is a damn fine recording. Maybe itâs the new computer I got that sounds so much better than my old laptop, but it comes through so clear, crisp and well produced. This is a high quality, top notch album that, although is an indie, sounds killer. Slick stuff! Itâs packed full of energy, with well written, well played songs and good sounds that will appeal to dudes (and dudettes) with Mohawks or Ducktails alike. I have nothing but positive things to say about the album. Itâs worth getting.
Things are really coming together for this band and thatâs always nice when you have a hometown band that stands out to root for. Itâs good for the hometown pride. But itâs because they are so darn good that I canât think of any fair reason why Forever Dead! donât deserve to be LTWâs Artist of the Day!
Words by Chris Hearn. More writing by Chris on Louder Than War can be found here.