The Forsaken
Manifest of Hate

Sweden’s The Forsaken is the latest entrant (and certainly not the last) in the tidal wave of melodic death metal. The band’s label, Century Media, name-drops the venerable At The Gates, Arch Enemy and the unparalleled Morbid Angel in an attempt to lure listeners into checking out what this recently-formed band is all about. Ok, I consider myself as a connoisseur of fine Swedish metal, melodic or not, and what I hear on the quintet’s debut, Manifest of Hate, shows remarkable promise, but fails considerably in its attempt cross-pollinate melody with outright brutality.

Opening track “Seers Hatred” starts out impressively enough with a clash of technical proficiency and going-for-the-jugular extremity. As the track continues, it’s evident that The Forsaken are desperately trying to marry the forceful onslaught of Carnal Forge and speedy melodic interplay of Soilwork. The painful reality is that everything on “Seers Hatred” is executed with meticulous detail, but the song lacks cohesion and clarity, two very important factors bands of this nature rarely capture and use to their advantage. The next track, “Deamon Breed,” is another track that lifts from another Swedish luminary Eucharist with its odd-tempo and seemingly backwards riffing. It’s not that the track is entirely derivative of an older, more innovative act, but where the song excels is where it loses its momentum and vibrancy.

Personally, it can’t be entirely the band’s fault for the slapped-together-for-the-hell-of-it quality. The production, courtesy of Abyss Studios producer Tommy Togtgren, is a veritable work of apathy and inexperience: the guitars are separated from the drums and, furthermore, the vocals are far too loud. The slapdash approach doesn’t help potentially lethal tracks like “Soulshade,” the title track with its cheap horror movie intro and “Incinerate” from accomplishing their goal of leveling expectations and creating a unique musical monster. In fact, the liner notes mention Togtgren’s involvement, saying, “The best band I’ve recorded so far!” This is coming from the same guy who engineered Dominion Caligula’s superior debut, A New Era Rises.

There are times, well maybe one or two, when all the elements The Forsaken are trying to combine come together in an intended fashion. “Dehumanized Perspective” is definitely the standout track on Manifest of Hate. Here, the cavalcade of perplexing riffs and the expertly segmented bass sections fuse with the near-jazz quality drumming and in-your-face vocals to form the extreme musical expression the entire album was meant to be. Sure, The Forsaken are a young bunch (the band is only three year’s old) and they’re definitely treading in waters charted by veteran acts, but until the zig-zag approach to songwriting straightens out or a different producer is found (Daniel Bergstrand?), the band is destined to be underlings to their ambitious countrymen. Impressive but ultimately lacking the necessary ingredients, Manifest of Hate should be low on your Swedish metal priority list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Dick
January 23rd, 2001


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