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Enforsaken
The Forever Endeavor
April 2004
Released: 2004, Olympic Recordings/Century Media
Rating: 4.7/5
Reviewer: Night of the Realm

Of all the bands carrying the flag of melodic death metal nowadays, both in Europe and the United States, Enforsaken certainly deserve credit and attention as one of the best bands playing that particular sound, and it is their debut full-length THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR that should solidify their position at the top.



Enforsaken created a bit of a buzz back in 2001 with their debut EP, EMBRACED BY MISERY, and though I could not acquire it at that time, the band name stuck somewhere on the back burner of my mind. It was quite fortuitous that my promo copy of THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR arrived when it did, not even two weeks ago, because it just so happened to coincide with Enforsaken’s jaunt into Michigan for two shows in Detroit and Lansing to kick off the new album. I must say that it is a great feeling to get to watch and meet a band who’s album has so recently and unexpectedly kicked my ass.



With ten tracks clocking in at just under an hour, Enforsaken offers up a wide palate of style including not only the straight Gothenburg sound, but also galloping power/traditional metal, mid-period Death influences, and riffing reminiscent of classic thrash. THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR is not going to smash any genres here, but every song is written and performed with the experience and maturity that one would expect from a far more seasoned band. The opening double-lead on “Tales of Bitterness” kicks off the album on a high note that does not relent for the remainder of the album. This track pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album; rich and catchy melodic hooks sweep the listener along, though there is no shortage of heavy, cutting riffs to carry the album’s full momentum. Basically, take some doses of the speed, melody, and catchiness of In Flames’ WHORACLE or Dark Tranquility – DAMAGE DONE, the dark aggression and epic nature of Dissection – STORM OF THE LIGHT’S BANE, a touch of early Soilwork and At the Gates, as well as a few small hits from mid to late-period Death, Dimmu Borgir, and Sentenced, and you have a good working idea of what Enforsaken has to offer. “The Forever Endeavor” and “A Break From Tradition” roll by in quick, aggressive fashion. I love the professional feeling on these tracks; the riffs and every drum hit fall perfectly in place with every note, a testament to both the musicianship of guitarists Steve Stell and Joe DeGroot, and drummer David Swanson, but also to the near-perfect production on the album. “Dead Light, Dead Night” is one of the highlights on the album for me; this song was written for going completely apeshit and headbanging like a fool. This one, a reworked track from the first EP, sounds even better the second time around. The Dissection-esque solo around 3:05 by Joe DeGroot absolutely rips (He may not have much stage presence, but fuck can that guy solo!) The buildup right after is utterly amazing. “The Acting Parts” (also from the first EP) flat-out destroys, too. This is how fucking metal should be played; hovering somewhere around traditional, death, and thrash metal, this track is fun as hell at a concert. The clean vocals appear again here for the chorus as they did on the album’s opener. Definitely a nice touch to hear Steven Sagala perform the vocals on this album; his voice moves perfectly from a convincing growl to a deep clean with apparent ease. “Poison Me” is a great thrashy number with somewhat of a quirky time change that alternates full-speed ahead with a mid-paced headbanging section. Another fun song. “Redemption: The Death of Vanity,” though nearly five minutes in length, is the shortest song on the album that does not have a lot of flashiness, but rather a straight-out rocking track. Though most of the songs on the album fall somewhere between five and six minutes in length, they all move quickly from one to the next with a fresh songwriting style on each track that does not allow stagnation in any form. Closing out the album is the eight minute semi-epic “All for Nothing.” All I can say is that this song is utterly fucking amazing. I may be a little biased here with my personal tastes in that I practically worship this style of metal, but this is how more bands ought to play! Trust me, this one rules. Thrashy opening, a clean chorus that is totally contagious (kinda like the clap from a skanky hooker, but the chorus is infinitely more desirable), as well as a killer guest solo by none other than guitarist James Murphy, (just search this guy’s resume…his credentials are solid) who also mastered the album.



All in all, THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR is one hell of a ride from start to finish, and has a ton of appeal for anyone into melodic metal. I was impressed enough the promo to go buy the full version of the album. This album has not left my player since I received it, and it grows better with each listen. I was originally going to score this album somewhere around a 4.2/5, hoping for some more speed on the songs, but repeated listens to let each song soak in really convinced me that this is nearly as good as it gets by any band nowadays. Seeing these guys slug it out onstage (actually, they didn’t even have a stage to play on up here…they played on the floor of a gym, and at an indie-punk record store in the ghetto of Detroit) convinced me that they are true fucking underground. Enforsaken is among the best young bands in the United States today. This one is definitely going to rank highly on my year-end top-10 list.
Track Listing

1. Tales Of Bitterness
2. The Forever Endeavor
3. A Break From Tradition
4. Vertigo Equilibrium
5. Dead Light, Dead Night
6. Cloaked In Need
7. The Acting Parts
8. Poison Me
9. Redemption; The Death Of Vanity
10. All For Nothing

Lineup

Steven Sagala - Vocals
Joe DeGroot - Guitar
Steve Stell - Guitar
Eric Kava - Bass
David Swanson – Drums

Other reviews

» The Forever Endeavor
by Night of the Realm

» The Forever Endeavor
by Lord of the Wasteland

» The Forever Endeavor
by Anders Sandvall


Next review: » Enforsaken - The Forever Endeavor
Enforsaken
The Forever Endeavor
March 2004
Released: 2004, Olympic Recordings
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

The Gothenburg sound is alive and well right here in North America. Chicago’s Enforsaken mix COLONY-era In Flames and At The Gates with traditional American metal to create a listening experience like no other. The melodic death vocals coupled with searing solos and catchy dual guitar riffs put THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR atop my list of “ones to watch” in 2004.



“Dead Night Dead Light” is the standout track on the CD, with furious double bass from David Swanson and an excellent vocal from Steven Sagala. The riffs will stick in your head for awhile as this is a well-crafted song. “The Acting Parts” is the most reminiscent of In Flames’ sound with the twin guitar attack and clean vocal choruses. “All or Nothing” retains the clean vocal style during the choruses, as well. “Poison Me” is a good thrasher with a slower middle section and an amazing solo. More thrash can be found on the first track, “Tales of Bitterness” at around the 3:26 mark.



If you question the interest this band has garnered even among its peers, Dark Tranquillity’s Niklas Sundin did the cover, Shadows Fall guitarist Matt Bachand got them their break by signing them to his label for their 2000 EP, EMBRACED IN MISERY and James Murphy (Obituary, Testament, Death) mastered THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR and even did the solo on “All For Nothing.” With support like this, Enforsaken has some pretty solid references!



It’s nice to see a band so brazenly wearing their metal influences on their sleeves. Most groups would shun any comparisons to In Flames based on their latest efforts, but Enforsaken embrace the qualities that we once loved about the band and has brought it back, American-style. If In Flames is out there somewhere, listen to THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR and remember how great you once sounded.



KILLER KUTS: “Dead Night Dead Light,” “Poison Me,” “The Acting Parts”
Track Listing

1. Tales Of Bitterness
2. The Forever Endeavor
3. A Break From Tradition
4. Vertigo Equilibrium
5. Dead Night, Dead Light
6. Cloaked In Need
7. The Acting Parts
8. Poison Me
9. Redemption
10. All For Nothing

Lineup

Steven Sagala—Vocals
Joe DeGroot—Guitar
Steve Stell—Guitar
Eric Kava—Bass
David Swanson—Drums

Other reviews

» The Forever Endeavor
by Night of the Realm

» The Forever Endeavor
by Lord of the Wasteland

» The Forever Endeavor
by Anders Sandvall


Next review: » Enforsaken - The Forever Endeavor
Enforsaken
The Forever Endeavor
April 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR is the debut from the young and hungry Enforsaken from Chicago USA. The average age in the band is 25 and despite their young age they have been a part of the metal underground scene for the past 5 years. Enforsaken was formed in 1998 by guitarist Steve Stell. He achieved some national attention with a 2 track demo that soon resulted in enough members for a steady line-up. The band recorded a 6-tracker entitled “EMBRACED BY MISERY” in 2000. This was meant to be a demo, but it was released in both Europe and the USA. With this EP things started to happen for Enforsaken including several rave reviews. When Century Media bought the Chicago based label Olympic Records, Century didn’t hesitate to give the band a worldwide deal. This resulted in their official debut “THE FOREVER ENDEAVOR”.



This debut was co-produced by Chris Djuricic and mastered by the metal legend James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Testament etc.). James also appears on the song “ALL FOR NOTHING”. The sound is brutal and aggressive but somewhat melodic in certain parts as well. Enforsaken plays melodic death metal with a lot of tempo changes influenced by heavy metal. They also manage to put in a great amount of the renowned “Gothenburg sound”. By that I mean that their music has big similarities with Swedish acts like At the Gates, In Flames, Soilwork etc. Sometimes the similarities are so strong you’d almost think that this is a Swedish band.



I have no favorite song on the CD, every song is strong and has big potential to become this year’s best debut album. Not only has the Gothenburg sound traveled to U.S. (which feels pretty good for me since I am from Sweden) the cover is also made by a Swede. Niklas Sundin (In Flames, Arch Enemy etc) has made an excellent cover that mirrors the music well.
Track Listing

Tales Of Bitterness
The Forever Endeavor
A Break From Tradition
Vertigo Equilibrium
Dead Night, Dead Light
Cloaked In Need
The Acting Parts
Poison Me
Redemption
All For Nothing

Lineup

Steven Sagala – lead vocals
Eric Kava – bass
Joe DeGroot – guitar
Steve Stell – guitar
David Swanson – drums

Other reviews

» The Forever Endeavor
by Night of the Realm

» The Forever Endeavor
by Lord of the Wasteland

» The Forever Endeavor
by Anders Sandvall






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