On Â¡Forward, Russia!'s most recent release Life Processes the band takes a gigantic turn from their prior pulsating guitar attack of their debut Give Me a Wall. Defined by high octane angular guitars and lead singer Tom Woodward's yelping delivery, which acted more as an instrument to fuel the high energy dance rock rather than being a focal point, Give Me a Wall was an album of young musicians fine-tuning their unique pummeling guitar slash of a sound.
This time around Â¡Forward, Russia! showcases an epic, arena-rock sound that focuses more on Woodward's lyrics and delivery, giving us a bag of mixed results. Still present is the heavy dance attack of the first album but the angularity that defined the first album have taken a back seat to soaring guitar melodies that work more as an emotional blanket of dissonance to accompany the lyrical content. Tom's urgent yelp has taken on a more grandiose feel that at some points is a little too overwrought. Still, at others it's pinpoint perfect. "A Shadow is a Shadow is a Shadow" is an excellent example of Â¡Forward, Russia! perfectly meshing the melodic intensity of his voice with the pounding guitar riffs that are both intricate and larger than life. This and "Don't Reinvent What You Don't Understand" hint at a truly titanic sized sound that could be exclusively Â¡Forward, Russia!, while "Breaking Standing" shows us they can also give us a pretty catchy song intertwined in their spiraling guitar intensity. The turning point is in songs like "We Are Grey Matter" and "Gravity & Heat", which tread too closely to a sound already being heavily used by bigger bands such as Bloc Party and Coldplay.
That being said, Life Processes is the perfect name for their sophomore album as it shows a band still testing out other musical techniques in an effort to figure out their true identity - both lyrically and musically. Even though it may not be a masterpiece, it exemplifies an ambitious step for a band that was taking chances and learning from them. Sadly, we may never get to hear this bands full potential come to fruition, so for now we will have to settle for the mixed platter that is Life Processes.