The Forsaken - _Traces of the Past_
(Century Media, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
The Forsaken's debut _Manifest of Hate_ propelled them into
vertiginous heights in my expectations; after an unusually high number
of listens spanning several months, I ranked them as perhaps -the-
most exciting prospect in Swedish death metal. Along came their second
album _Arts of Desolation_, and I found myself mildly disappointed by
the band's turn toward American influences. Although a very competent
album, _Arts of Desolation_ fell short of the staying power and
enjoyability possessed by its predecessor. This takes us to the
Swedes' latest effort, _Traces of the Past_, an album I obviously met
with mixed expectations. In most ways, it has turned out for the
better: there's less American riffing, more enthusiasm in their
vibrant form of technically sharp, energetic death metal, and overall
_Traces of the Past_ is closer to the level of accomplishment found in
_Manifest of Hate_. On the other hand, however, the sheer catchiness
of _Manifest of Hate_ is yet to be reproduced by the band -- although
this one is even more impressive as far as the technicality of its
guitar work is concerned. I still have a bit of a gripe with the
vocalist's phrasing of the lyrics, but his work is otherwise very
adequate. Ultimately, _Traces of the Past_ is more accomplished than
its predecessor, but only just enough to stay with an 8.5 (they would
have received a lower rating had they stagnated). The Forsaken have
nonetheless reaffirmed their place as one of Sweden's premier death
metal acts today; whether they will ever be able to find that ellusive
extra inspiration to create their own _Slaughter of the Soul_ remains
to be seen.
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