Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Lacks in production, but otherwise very good - 80%

Drequon, January 8th, 2018

Those more intensely obsessed with the doom metal underground are probably aware of Forsaken’s existence, though the scarcity of their earlier releases means that most headbangers will be unfamiliar with their music to this point. Long hailed as Malta’s response to Candlemass, the four-piece have finally signed the dotted line for Mighty Music, a much more established label with good distribution worldwide that is sure to give a boost on the band’s fortunes from now on. And “Pentateuch”, the first official product from such collaboration, have more than enough qualities to put a smile (ok, maybe a discreet grin) on most doomster’s faces.

One of the strongest points in Forsaken’s music is their undeniable penchant for heavy riffing. Sean Vukovic knows his trade, displaying hook after hook without giving the listener much room to breathe at all – not to mention some excellent solos, as the colossal “The Dove and The Raven” is more than enough to testify. But Forsaken is far from being a one-man-wonder, you see. Bass player and main songwriter Albert Bell sure understands the importance of atmosphere, with tunes like “Decalogue” displaying his ability to capture the listener’s attention to a great extent. Simeon Gatt pound the skins with undeniable finesse, and Leo Stivala have long been one of the most talented singers in the entire doom metal scene, his huge voice seamlessly going from grim to grandiose and then to sheer hostility when needed, all done with extreme confidence and bite. These guys have been playing together for over 25 years now, and it shows all over this record, you can take my word for it.

The songwriting is very tight, with no perceivable dips in quality from start to end – even the slightly pointless interlude “The Banishment” is actually quite cool, though it comes perhaps a bit too early in the running order to achieve full effect. There’s also a good balance between the murky and the (slightly) more upbeat, with vigorous songs like “Primal Wound” and “Sabaoth (The Law Giver)” being much-welcomed moments when the pace speeds up a little and you can serve yourself for a good, healthy dose of intense headbanging. Well done, lads, well done indeed.

The only aspect that prevents “Pentateuch” from getting an even higher rating is the production. The in-your-face, live-sounding approach is not a problem in itself, but it seems to have been quite a long and convoluted recording process, using many different studios during a period of no less than four years and with protracted intervals between sessions. Under such circumstances, no one should be remotely surprised to learn that the final product lacks cohesion to a great extent. Sometimes a given instrument will sound very different from one song to another – seriously, just compare the drums on “Serpent Bride” and “The Dove and the Raven”, not a single piece of the kit sounds the same! Considering that the mix applies high emphasis on the rhythm session, the whole thing can get quite unpleasant to the eardrums on occasion. And I’m not at all enamored with the ending of the otherwise awesome “Apocryphal Winds”: after spending over 15 minutes with a very good thing going (an achievement in itself for such a long track, mind you), the fade-out sounds too unpolished and abrupt, almost an anticlimax after such a pleasant doom-fest.

Maybe these shortcomings will be a bit too much for more rigorous listeners, and you’re well advised to proceed with caution if you’re the kind of person that demands an impeccable-sounding production to start with. On the other hand, those among us willing to overlook it will be rewarded with some immensely epic, engaging doom metal of the highest level. “Pentateuch” is quite an achievement when it comes to music itself, and let’s just hope that Forsaken will be able to build from this one and come up with a more closely-knit production job next time around.

- Originally written for The Metal Observer - http://www.metal-observer.com/

The Scriptures of Doom - 95%

Dog General, October 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Mighty Music (Digipak)

As can be attested from the album title Pentateuch, this is the fifth album by Forsaken - and what an album! Malta’s Forsaken made sure that the end result of this effort i.e the sound, remains identifiable to their trademark forged in epic doom as found on predecessor albums (Dominaeon & After the Fall). However they did not rest on their laurels and the band succeeded in crafting something beyond the usual efforts. Why?

This is a strong, heavy, epic opus which sees Forsaken reaching new heights and touching new territories thanks to strong compositions, top notch vocals and a fine production with attention to the details. Forsaken made sure that there will be no stone left unturned in the making of the album. The short mystic instrumental ‘Phaneros – Coming to Light’ introduces Pentateuch and opens the gates for the heavy, slow paced and ominous Serpent Bride which gives a sense of foreboding. One can expect a creation of the typical to traditional doom metal heavy riffing with a fine plodding rhythm section. This can be attested on each unforgettable track namely ‘Primal Wound’ and the head bang-able Sabaoth. In such songs encasing the old school pattern one cannot help notice the exquisite guitar playing by Sean Vukovic while Albert Bell seems in Geezer Butler form. Finally drummer Simeon Gatt nails everything into pattern and shape by his solid drumming.

The details, referred too earlier point to instances in songs like ‘The Banishment’ containing a reciting baritone voice accentuated by mysterious female vocalisations nearing the end of the track. Also ‘The Dove and the Raven’ and the final opus ‘Apocryphal Winds’ are truly memorable epic slabs of doom where Leo Stivala’s vocal performances do shine above the norm! These two songs encapsulates incessant riffing and lead breaks, changes in the theme of the song and choruses topped with soaring vocals complemented by falsetto singing. One may not fail to notice the ‘live’ sound of the recording due to the clarity of each and every instrument oozing doom metal from the speakers. Reaching new heights and going to further territories due to the new compositions, Forsaken are masters of their own creations – epic doom metal! The Pentateuch is the scriptures of doom!