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Outdoing Candlemass at their own game - 90%

gk, April 21st, 2009

Formed in 1990, Malta’s Forsaken have been steadily releasing some quality doom influenced heavy metal for a while now. 2005s Dominaeon showed signs of a band that was beginning to create its own space in an overcrowded genre and After the Fall further cements that place for the band in the world of doom metal.

Essentially, Forsaken plays doom metal by way of Candlemass. However, they are not simply a bunch of copycats. While Candlemass may be the band’s biggest influence it’s the little touches of traditional heavy metal, memorable vocal melodies and some impressive lead guitar playing that lifts After the Fall above the ranks of imitators and into something that’s a bit special. There’s a fair bit of Black Sabbath here too but its more the Dio fronted Heaven and Hell album that seems to be an influence than the classic Ozzy albums.

The albums starts off really strong with first proper song Aidenn Falls coming across like a melodic Candlemass meets Dio with a catchy melody and some soaring lead guitar in the latter half of the song. It’s an impressive start to the album and Sins of the Tempter continues to build the momentum but in a much more slowed down and menacing manner. It is however, the middle of this album that really impresses. Vanguards of the Void is epic doom metal that has its melodic moments but is probably a little more St. Vitus than Candlemass with its crawling, lurching riffs and wonderfully tasteful lead playing, Armida’s Kiss is almost energetic in comparison and combines the old school of doom with some wonderfully catchy traditional metal grooves and somehow never feels like it’s a song that’s over nine minutes long. Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) is another epic that is steeped in the 80s and the song has some more stellar lead playing. The album closes with the superb Metatron and the Mybor Mythos which ends the album on a similar upbeat atmosphere that opener Aidenn Falls had.

The band sounds great on this album. While the guitars are heavy and have some serious crunch, the vocalist is very accomplished and can really sing. The rhythm section is more than competent and provides a solid backing especially when the leads are happening. The sound is also refreshingly old school and really impressive.

Forsaken has delivered on all the promise that they showed on Dominaeon and are poised on the cusp of greatness. After the Fall is pretty much essential listening for fans of Candlemass, Solitude Aeternus and bands of that ilk although I’d venture to say that this is a good deal better than the last few Candlemass albums. In related news, Sweden’s I Hate Records is silently building a very impressive doom metal roster with Jex Thoth, Ereb Altor, Isole and now Forsaken who are right at the top.

Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com