Forsaken - Evermore review
|Release date:||February 1997|
01. The Healer
03. Moon Dancer
04. Season's End
06. Winter Tears
09. Slip Stream
10. Neon Knights [Black Sabbath cover] [bonus]
I've become a fan of this excellent Maltese Doom band after listening to the album Iconoclast in 2002. Anima Mundi in 2004 was another piece of art and displayed the amazing abilities of a band playing a not so much popular genre anymore, namely classic Doom. I missed one album in my body count. It's all fixed now with the re-release of the first Forsaken album, Evermore, which has originally been released on the former Maltese label Storm Records. Due to complaints from the fans who couldn't find this album anywhere, Golden Lake Productions and Forsaken had the great idea to release it in a limited edition of 1000 copies with new artwork (I think I liked the old cover better) and explicative booklet. In order to give it a more up-to-date sound, Forsaken rushed back in Temple Studios to re-master all the tracks, plus 'Neon Knights' of the almighty Sabbath. So here we are. I can't believe this is the same band.
While Iconoclast and Anima Mundi can't be considered to be anything but pure Doom metal I have been very surprised to discover a whole new landscape with Evermore. It opens with the up-tempo 'The Healer.' First surprise. Is that Ozzy Osbourne singing or what? Since 1996 Leo Stivala obviously found his own way, but here the influence is blatant. The song itself sounds like the solo works of Ozzy. Some other songs like 'Rubicon' or the great 'Slip Stream' are highly inspired by heavy metal and the NWOBHM, but with a dark feel to them, and guitar playing that reminds me a lot of 70's rock (Led Zeppelin for example). Evermore is definitely not as progressive as the other two albums, but it's far heavier. Listen to the Sabbath-influenced 'Vertigo' (probably one of the best songs), and you'll know what groove and heaviness mean. This song is absolutely perfect in every way. The riffs are big, fat, powerful, and catchy with the once again Ozzy-like vocals showing that Leo Stivala is really one hell of a singer and the structure is complex enough to avoid any kind of boredom. What can I say about the melodic and sad outro? Just brilliant.
The word masterpiece could also go for the more Doomy songs. 'Season's End' and the 12-minute epic 'Winter Tears' bring a much darker atmosphere, and a slower pace that counterbalances the mid-tempos and violent riffs of 'Sufferance' or 'Vertigo.' These songs were previews of what Forsaken was to become. The last great pick is 'Madrigal,' a true Doom piece that starts out with only clean guitars and heavenly vocals to end up on epic guitar riffing. This one reminds me a lot of bands such as While Heaven Wept, with still this 70's-like touch. The guitarists certainly do a great job, but we should not forget the amazing bass playing which is very Sabbath-like again, and very efficient. The only not so outstanding track is actually the Black Sab cover 'Neon Knights.' Not that it is of poor quality, but it sounds a bit too much like the original (the vocals... as if Ozzy himself was singing) and doesn't bring anything relevant to this piece of art.
In the end, I dare say that I now consider that Evermore is easily Forsaken's best album. I really believe this band will dig its way to the top of classic Doom metal, because if you take all their albums into account they certainly deserve it. Now Doomsters, stop acting dark and depressed because there is sunshine out there. Why don't you take advantage of this nice weather to go and treat yourself with Forsaken? You ought to do it, for Evermore is a true masterpiece, the kind of album you hear once every five years or so.
Highlights: Season's End, Vertigo, Winter Tears, Madrigal
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Grumpy Old Fuck
Grumpy Old Fuck
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