Las Vegas headquartered six piece Forgotten Door’s self-titled EP certainly pays tribute to iconic acts like Stevie Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac, among others, but there’s much more going on here. Their original compositions boast identifiable reference points without lapsing into outright imitation; it is as if Forgotten Door’s songwriting absorbed those lessons and transformed them through their own skills and experiences into something their own. The expanded lineup focuses on presenting an outstanding and varied vocal presentation, but the musicianship is top notch throughout the EP and the band proves themselves consistently able to deliver surprises for listeners.
Melody Ritz’s lead vocals for the first song “Masquerade” do strike a slight Stevie Nicks sort of vibe, but she has a very different singing instrument. Ritz’s voice inhabits a lower register than Nicks and without ever having to reach for such effects, but the material and her natural talents allow her to invoke the enchantress-like qualities Nicks built her career on Lonnie Danley’s phased lead guitar fanfares scattered throughout the arrangement burst out of the speakers and aren’t entirely successful; they sound a little garish when contrasted with the laid back mood established by the other musicians. The rhythm guitar adornments, however, are on point throughout the track.
“Puerto Penasco” has a brisk pace and a retro sound that, nonetheless, feels quite fresh with vibrant modern production values. The vocals for this track move away from Ritz and Johndale Stanley’s singing is strong, but he does lack the emotional flexibility heard from Ritz’s performance. The lyrics for this track are among the finest included on this release. Michael Seal’s guitar rips off some commanding lead work opening “Far Far Away” and it pairs up well with Chad Sylva’s drumming. The commercial potential of Forgotten Door’s material is difficult to deny even if the market they are aiming for is far from robust in 2019. This is, market forces aside, an ideal tune for lovers of AOR rock and mature songwriting grounded in adult realities rather than youthful fantasy. Make no mistake, however – it is thoroughly entertaining.
Seal stands out yet again thanks to the guitar work fueling “Warm” and the introduction of chaotic lines near the opening gives the track a different character than Forgotten Door has presented until now. The band sounds most comfortable with mid-tempo pacing, though they distinguish themselves with different tempos, and “Warm” evolves in a natural way without ever feeling rushed. Forgotten Door has a plethora of musical resources they can draw from to make individual tracks work and the vocal harmonies added to “Warm” elevate an already fine track.
Forgotten Door’s journey has been a long one with its key members logging over twenty years as professional musicians, but they lock in together on this release in a way capable of convincing casual and otherwise listeners they found their path. This new EP is a release that has something for everyone and will encourage newcomers to the band’s music to keep coming back for more thanks to its across the board quality.
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