The Slow Forward. Anything but…
(By Scotty) There are assorted reasons why musicians form bands and make music together; a few of which are the proverbial “party like a rock-star,” the chicks, the potential fame and notoriety, adoration of fans, etc. The number of bands that achieve that status is proportionately few, whether it was their goal or not. A great deal more are the ones who do it out of passion for the music they create, not worried about if everyone else will truly appreciate their art; they are doing what they want, how they want with their personal creative touch. The Slow Forward is the latter and all the better for it.
Whether it is the music, the lyrics, or their image; The Slow Forward is not trying to be something they are not. They have songs that range in style and span across genres all the while retaining their metal sound and deliver crushing organized chaos at times, in the vein of The Mars Volta and at other times are based on a thick blues foundation a la Led Zeppelin. A harmonious intro with a Southern Rock melody from vocalist/guitarist, Robert Brunelle, may lead you into a heavy cap peeling riff. They are bound by nothing and are not about to be somebody else’s vision of what their band should be. They have been doing this too long and are not a bunch of teenagers trying to be rock stars. They have families and careers aside from their music, but their music is their passion and creative outlet which comes through in their tunes.
Collectively, the four member band has been playing together as The Slow Forward for 7 years; however, their history together goes far beyond that playing with each other in assorted bands or even outside of music to friendships, including Little League, that date back to childhood as early as age 12.
Often a band is referred to as “technical.” It is a term associated with acts like Avenged Sevenfold or Sylosis and honestly the succinct meaning is unclear as it pertains to metal; however, what I have come to appreciate about technical bands and associate the meaning with is that there are many changes in rhythm and tempo in their songs. That characteristic starts with the rhythm section of the bass and timekeeping of the drummer. Bryan “Splinter” Morgan is a sick drummer that sets the tone and lays the foundation for the thickness emphasized by bassist Jay Hill. The changes are synchronous with the guitars of Robert Brunelle and Justin Hong, woven into the music instead of being the focal point with face melting solos and everything else in the background. Brunelle cites Tool as a major influence on the band. The influence can be heard with the incorporation of different instruments giving some songs a different atmosphere and even tribal texture.
The biggest and perhaps subconscious influence is felt in the attitude of the music and lyrical content. Tool is known for having this shroud of mystery because their videos don’t feature the band…it is about the music. TSF is about the music and like it or don’t like it, doesn’t influence their decision to keep crafting heavy tunes with different backbones with a middle finger in the air to all those who think the band should have an image, dress a certain way, have hair a certain length or pigeon hole themselves into some sort of sub-genre.
Lyrically, Brunelle has written songs that are brutal at times or tender and empathetic, but they are always honest and don’t necessarily have some cryptic message. What you see is what you get and what you get is Brunelle baring his thoughts and fervent views of the “scene” or relationships or whatever he wants to express unambiguously.
When Sullen Clothing started their own label, the first band they approached was The Slow Forward. TSF had other options, but the appeal of Sullen echoed their approach to music. Sullen Musik has a wide array of artists, from Hip Hop to alternative, to hard rock/metal to grindcore. It isn’t a label that’s about a certain type of music or genre, rather a label that is about passion and the art of music and it’s consumers; which include many artists of different factions, such as tattoo artists…as well as an attitude. So what band better to lead the charge of the start-up than TSF?
The band name could have some profound meaning…if you want it to. It can be interpreted however you so choose. Just as music is for public consumption and can be translated by the listener to fit their own visions or meaning, The Slow Forward may be a metaphor for life and the plodding forward. There is an adage derived from the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis, along the lines of “On your tombstone, it lists your birth date and the date of your death, separated by a dash. It is what you do with that dash that defines your life.” The Slow Forward is spending their dash as a band with no boundaries where they can take their music, whether it be an acoustic ballad or songs that will have you banging your head with your fists (or middle finger) in the air. The Slow Forward; anything but…