Forsaken – After the Fall

I find it surprising that “After the Fall” is my first crossing with Malta’s Forsaken, a very mature quartet of songwriters who have plundered the lush orchards of doom since 1991. “After the Fall” is very vibrant sounding sonically, with a guitar buzz that breathes in a room ambience and a massive tone that gives this band that hint of a stoner doom vibe. Vintage amps and old guitars, all played loudly is the sound they are successfully emulating, but the motion and openness in the riff work and overall compositions take on more of a weighty epic metal grandiosity. There’s a noticeable level of seriousness and angered intent in the music, more so than any stoner doom band that I’ve heard in ages, so the stylistic comparison begins and ends with the guitar sound. Leo Stivala’s vocal skills are quite impressive in the pitch singing style, for his power comes off as effortless and the smoothness in his pipes masterfully walks the line between uplifting energy, and more subtle/quiet dynamics all without ever sounding like a 3rd rate power metal cheese fest. “Armida’s Kiss” in particular stood out due to an insanely heavy hook with grooved out and unpredictable motion in the main riff, only to further open up structurally with classy solo work and a new set of riff ideas. Forsaken aren’t afraid to stray off the beaten path and pride themselves on breaking out of tired and true pop structures. Don’t be surprised to hear a song end in a much different area/mindset than it began. This trait is one of the many that really draws me to this band. The emotion within the songs and obvious care for every note on this album instantly won me over even with having no preconceived notions going in. Add sparse, but quite enjoyable solos to further push the epic metal hugeness of “After the Fall” to the forefront of the genre and my “regular rotation” stack of listening CDs. After several trips through this CD, it became clear that Candlemass is a very big influence on Forsaken, but the band has clearly risen above their idols in many ways with so much more musical development in their arsenal and by avoiding the blatant Sabbath worship employed by Leif and crew. A truly great release. –Marty


~ by martyworm on January 4, 2010.

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