Sound — 7
The CoB sound bursts with vibrant guitar tones that would not sound out of place on a Classic Rock record, but, having honed their own brand of Melodic Death, there is nothing to suggest an attempt at innovation on this album.
Laiho's guitar work is technical as ever, as he pulls out all of his tricks on Shovel Knockout a track on which his guitar work doesn't fail to impress. The melodic Roundtrip to Hell and Back follows, bringing a slower, more synth-based facet to the album. In fact, the song sounds like it should be performed in a more orchestral setting, from the dramatically timed synthesiser to Laiho's impassioned screams and down-picked rhythms. Laiho's guitar work remains extraordinary; his inexorable refusal to solo at breakneck speed come the end of the song establishes it as an accomplished music composition.
Included for the listener's own torture is the inane Pussyfoot Miss Suicide cheap lyrics, and less than exciting composition result in a formulaic song that perhaps does more to establish more boundaries than it does to break them.
The title-track includes accomplished metal riffing, whilst Ugly serves as a reminder that even when recording only nine songs it is difficult for a band to say no to filler. Cry of the Nihilist proves to be a highlight of the album, Janne Wirman using his synthesiser skills to elevate the track to the heights it reaches; Laiho does well to remind us that he does a lot more with his guitar than he is often given credit for. It is important to listen for the less audible notes played, with listening to the album with headphones proving to be a step in the right direction to hearing the album as it is meant to be heard.
The singleWas it Worth it?comes next, proving itself to be the compulsory -radio friendly, catch-all manifesto that seems to be the norm in the music industry today. The track is anonymous save its chorus, fitting the pattern that one expects.
Lyrics — 5
Laiho's lyrics aren't poetic harshly delivered, and bluntly put (and I'm not sure if I'm talking about my words or his). Songs such as Pussyfoot Miss Suicide have no place in such a well-established band's repertoire, whilst Ugly proves to be no lyrical masterpiece.
Overall Impression — 6
Relentless Reckless Forever will be met with some indifference by the metal community. It's not that CoB doesn't have the chops they simply don't have anything more to offer with the release of this album. It might include some excellent pieces, but it will be interesting to see how CoB builds on this release.