Reviewed: July 2002
Released: 2002, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Funny, I was just saying something on the message board about liking death metal. This came as a surprise to some board readers, since my passion for bombastic power metal is so well-known, but it’s true that I also listen to and like a lot of death metal too, and yesterday I was thinking, “I should listen to some more death.” Then, as if magic, The Forsaken’s ARTS OF DESOLATION lands in my mailbox!
This disc kicked my ass! It’s a savage, blistering assault of untamed death metal. The Forsaken is from Sweden, but if you’re tired of the Gothenburg melodic-death stuff, this is definitely a return to the old-style, early-‘90s type of Swedish death metal. I wouldn’t quite compare them to Dismember (my favorite Swedish death band, and my favorite death band period), but then again it would be like comparing apples and oranges. ARTS OF DESOLATION is not quite as dry, crunchy or sharp as the various Entombed-styled bands, and their sound possesses a fair amount of “sludge” mixed in with the crackly riffs that grace songs like “The Second Manifest” and “Scars.” The vocals of Anders Sjöholm are generally straightforward shouts backed with standard gurgles and such, and indeed the vocals aren’t really that interesting. But the guitar work here is terrific and the power never lets up. Standout tracks include “Incubator” and “Cold Flesh Colony,” but all of it is unendingly fast, brutal and aggressive.
Some listeners may find this somewhat dull. There isn’t a tremendous amount of innovation here, nor variation in the songwriting or delivery. Thus, it’s probably fair to say that what mood you’re in at the time you listen to ARTS OF DESOLATION may affect how you react to it. That said I can’t deny that it struck me very positively and I thoroughly enjoyed the album. Once in a while you need a hefty dose of acidic death metal, and The Forsaken certainly deliver. If you’re in the mood for a speedy Swedish death metal ass kicking, this album should more than suffice.
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