Hailing from Montreal, No Real Hero have unleashed a new EP, a follow-up to their 2014 self titled album. The Forest will have you feeling nostalgic for the early days of Fat Wreck Chords. Their brand of punk infused metal delivers a message of rebellion and heartbreak. The easiest comparison to make is Propagandhi. They are both Canadian, they both liberally use epic guitar riffage to highlight their punk sneer, and both seem intent on kick-starting a revolution.
The Forest opens with a track that seems pulled from Tron, dark and ominous with an electric pulse. This shroud is shredded by a barrage of guitar licks and a bombastic rhythm as “Comfort and Sorrow” makes it clear that this band is not here to play nice. ‘What’s good to you don’t mean shit to me’ they snarl as they lament about how people ‘Seek comfort in other people’s sorrow’.
“Broken Waters” a song about mourning the death of a child perfectly mirrors rage and despair with changes in tempo. One minute anger and swelling guitars, the next a soliloquy of despair. It’s a heartbreaking look at the helplessness felt in the mortality of someone so new to the world.
The incendiary nature of this EP shines through on “This is Home”. ‘Just watch us kids come together/we rise our fists high and strong’ is the riotous call to arms for despondent kids unsure of the rage they feel or their place in life. A song that one can only imagine would be amazing live, with all the kids that this song mentions singing along with their fists raised in solidarity.
“The Forest for the trees” provides a lush and technical display of guitar chops. Then we reach the pinnacle of the album, the closer “Red and Black” a song that explores a purposeful overdose on the part of a young girl upon the realization that her boyfriend shared her nude pictures. It’s a dark exposè on current social trends that plague our society.
The Forest is a short but intense offering from a band that takes a familiar style and completely makes it their own. This may be the only time I say this, but if they added a little more of that electronic Tron-esque sound from the opener to the rest of the album, I would not complain.
4.5 / 5 Stars