The Forsaken - _Arts of Desolation_
(Century Media, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
I was thoroughly impressed and entertained by The Forsaken's highly enjoyable debut _Manifest of Hate_ [CoC #52], and expected nothing less than pure excellence in Swedish death metal to pour from my speakers when I played _Arts of Desolation_ for the first time. Great expectations are always dangerous, however, and that thought spent a lot of time in my mind when I first listened to the album. It was good, technically impressive, but it just wasn't _Manifest of Hate_ -- unfair, certainly, but annoyingly true. _Arts of Desolation_, being the successor of an excellent debut, had a very tough test to pass, and while its qualities were undeniable, to my ears it didn't quite reach the level of accomplishment that _Manifest of Hate_ did. Even though it has grown on me since then, I still can't seem enjoy it quite as much as _Manifest of Hate_. A significant part of the problem lies in the fact that the band's style is often Americanized on _AoD_ (Morbid Angel perhaps the main influence there), which despite the aplomb with which they perform those sections doesn't always turn out to be as enjoyable as the music on _MoH_ -- but that may be down to a matter of taste. Some other times _AoD_ is thrashier and often less melodic than _MoH_, but essentially The Forsaken have maintained a significant part of the sound that is their own. As a result, _Arts of Desolation_ is neither a simple continuation of its predecessor nor a disruption of the band's style. A couple of its tracks don't do much for me -- something that didn't happen on _Manifest of Hate_ --, but it is still a very solid record, albeit to my ears a somewhat transitional one. I expect an even better album from this highly talented band next time -- not technically, but rather in terms of consolidating their sound a bit more, back to something as consistent as they had on their debut (even if the style may be somewhat different). Nevertheless, with numbers such as "Incubator", "Embedded Insanity" and "Scars", The Forsaken continue to show that they are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the death metal world.

(article published 9/1/2002)

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