The Forsaken
Beyond Redemption

For those that are unfamiliar with The Forsaken – the first and foremost thing you have to know, before throwing this one on, is that they’re very traditionally Swedish in sound. They’re the melodic death metal band rather than the technical and grindy godzilla. That being said, they sure as hell know how to jampack plenty of nuances  into their pattern shifts, and influences from all spectrums of metal turn up in the flourishing of the solos, and there’s a sure aptitude to cook up mean ass grooves going on here – plus, the down-paced passages as much as the urgency of the upbeats all fucking slam without fail. In a nutshell, whether or not you’re an ape fan of melody thrown into your brutality, you won’t find that these guys exaggerate on the whipped cream in that department – they do it at the utmost right dosage and also work pretty damned hard on other aspects of songwriting. Old school influence and filthiness is also present here, no matter how modern and crystallized both the production and the feel of this material might be. This, with some attention to detail, showcases layers and layers of directions in thought and pattern – which makes it a fairly superior record that separates these guys from the rest of the incredibly vast and well-known Swedish bands around. That’s earning them plenty of points with ”Beyond Redemption”, which spent a couple years behind the scenes before Massacre launched it out in the open.

The title-cut already reunites them main bullet points in quite the stellar incarnation, albeit it’s only firing up the engines and sure ain’t the best of tracks on here, or the biggest surprise. Still, it sure nails the groovy and memorable introductory melody. There’s a whole bunch of noteworthy pattern shifts in the drumming already. It’s all a kickass build-up towards a genuinely beefy first verse, coupled brilliantly with catchy melodies throughout. 2.30 showcases one orgasmic solo. The three minute mark, particularly, is a picture-perfect unveiling of the grandeur of this song at its finest. ”Only Hell Remains” kicks off with a melody that didn’t convince me at first, albeit the simplistic (but still meaty) riff leading the way into the first verse got me thinking maybe this would get better fast – and indeed, a solid groove carries on atop of a mid-paced drum roll for a nice touch. 1.02 develops into a melodic climax that was quite unexpected here, with some neat-sounding leads eventually sprinkled atop. That lead guitarist is the man, I gotta say. His solos are truly entertaining to observe all through this record – he never comes short. This soon establishes itself as a stellar track, tagging along with my feeling. The melodic chorus has an addictive quality. The slowing in pace at 2.38 works more or less, but that doesn’t overshadow anything about how cool this track is, to be honest. The pace gets picked up again quick, and the vocals are getting increasingly insistent as they go. I’m also loving the hyperblast ’round 3.20, which are utilized in just the right quantity to truly make an impact here.

”Foul Messianic Grace” has a very brutal and astoundingly well-structured entrance into the matter. It’s very nuanced, and the whole track is noticeably layered in terms of melody. 1.16 introduces a particularly interesting drum pattern that works really well. It has a kickass urgency and edge to it. In fact, this tune is interesting throughout, at the risk of sounding like a kiss-ass – it just never drops that ball. Not only does it go through plenty of variations, but it has this brill knack for ambiance. The atonal leads at 2.39, following in that train of thought, are very eerie, especially as they unfurl against the chaotic hyperblast backbone afterward. This passage of the tune is a work of art. The mid-paced stroll of the chorus really fucking slams, above all things. ”No Dawn Awaits” is on yet another brutal as fuck roll. The melody in the background works quite well, without being the most original piece of work on here. In spite of that, the groove is irreproachable, and really drives the song. The chorus at 1.04 showcases a much better evolution of the riffs already, and when the chaos takes over with hyperblasts – it all sounds considerably revitalized right out of the woodwork. The solo following the shift in the pacing of the drums is also a nice addition and is the definite point that saves this song from being inferior in comparison with the previous cuts. 2.26, especially, comes up with an epic and very, very violent part, nuancing constantly. It’s incredibly well-built – these guys know their shit. It even eventually gets easier to ”get” the direction of the riffs from the intro as they come back into the picture – they seem more efficient at that point.

”There is No God” has an absolutely kickass intro riff. The melodic grooves tossed in afterward have to be some of the best on this whole record. They’re definitely frenetic, and create an immediate build-up. It’s all very chaotic, memorable, and infectious. The recurring structures of this tune are simple, but nifty exactly the way they are. There’s even an intriguingly proggier section around 1.48 with a solo that’s also interestingly-built, flourishing in ways that are truly out of the damn box and blending in various influences. Also, I gotta say this chorus reaches deeply into the gut. ”As We Burn” sounds more death-thrashy as it opens up with a main riff that certainly wouldn’t be out of place in a classic, solely thrash tune. The tempestuous first verse has cool guitar work in the back that feels like a major hurricane/whirlwind of sorts. 0.59 introduces shifts in pace that are truly punchy and unexpected. Still, it feels the chorus doesn’t reach quite as deep as it could’ve. This isn’t as violent as the rest of the album so far, but it sure as fuck is creative. It even sort of reminds me of old school Arch Enemy in terms of a vibe somehow. That chorus takes a while to sink in – it sounds only mildly better on the second spin. Still, 2.26 showcases a very swirly solo – this dude has a way of saving the day when bits and pieces of this sound go awry in places. 3.29, though, comes up with this bold buildup – the vocal here is awesome (WHAT a yell). It’s a good song – only thing is, it doesn’t seem to depart majorly from a pre-determined comfort zone, even if it does its bulk of work to try and vary its choice of weaponry throughout the attack (that, as I’ve previously underlined, I can hand to these guys in heaps – they never lose sight of that goal, no matter what happens).

The slightly techier intro riff of ”Reap as We Have Sown” instantaneously seemed to signify this cut is one different kinda cat. The riffage in the back of the first verse sounds considerably more old school than all of the previous cuts back to back. The chorus is dark and majestic. There’s not too much icing on this cake and I find the organic feel of this practice is particularly tasty. The second verse, with its mid-paced drum stroll, sounds just as beautifully ancient. I’m especially digging the slow stomp at 1.38, and the hollow-as-fuck leads at 1.58. At 2.44, things get faster-paced; the progression of the leads in the back is interesting to follow – it all has this very calculating vibe. There’s yet another super bold slowing down in pace afterward that really, ultimately crushes. It’s my favorite track on here, without question, for the old school factor above all else. ”The Light Divine” seems to borrow from the quality of the slow parts of its predecessor with an equally reptilian entrance. It has a bit of an Obituary‘esque intro riff, even. It gets increasingly atonal as it goes for a nice affect. The first verse is one trippy build-up all of its own, and the vocals are barking with heartfelt rage. I gotta say this frontman sounds better and better as the album progresses. There’s a nice pattern shift at 1.40, and the guitars and drums are so tight-knit it’s quite obvious these parts have been refined and rehearsed many many times throughout the years before the recording/final take took place. I’m loving the masterful flipside of thought in the second verse. This track is definitely an evolution – it knows HOW not to dwell on the same page ages. The traditional kick of the hyperblast at 3.46 is, although predictable, definitely beautiful-sounding atop of the melodies sealing up the track.

”Force Fed Repentance” uncorks with fucking frantic riffage alongside drumming that doesn’t lose any sort of headway. 0.39 comes up with another one of those passages of nicely old school death metal songwriting with a background melody that’s not only positively basic, but also down n’ filthy. I’m liking the way the drums balance out nicely between pattern shifts – it knows to let all the parts of the song hold plenty of water for just the right amount of time to make a sufficient impact. There’s a section about 2 minutes in that left me perplexed, but it’s so short-lived and subtle, it doesn’t make a damn difference in the reach of this delivery. 2.40 is adamantly gripping with its flashy meshing of the soloing, the ape rhythm sections and the hyperblast for a very brutal finish. ”Blessed With Wrath” picks an interesting direction for its melodies with some slightly proggier ideas thrown in the mix that fit nicely with these guys’ general frame of thought. The chorus is also great. Still, no matter how cool these elements are, it feels the hyperblast further on comes in at a pre-planned cue and that the track is a tiny bit boxed-up; still, it works as a cool final cut.

The length of time it took for The Forsaken to make this album definitely is justified. There’s no major newness to speak of around these parts; just a particularly skilled take on the utilization of world-renowned tools of the trade. For that, and the fact that it doesn’t repeat itself throughout oblivion, truly raising the bar for me in terms of changing the definition of ”melodic death metal” (i.e. tossing the excessive predictability out the window, for the most part) I’d recommend checking out this band and album. Even skeptics will find plenty to chew on – and will also live very well with the after-taste.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Noch
September 17th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Poop

    I had thought these guys broke up or something!Awesome surprise. This is a step up from Traces of the Past and I thought that was great. Good review


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