Lucifer has been very busy of late.
After having been banished from Heaven, he’s determined to drag as many human
souls with him as possible into eternal damnation. Cain’s fratricide, Hiroshima,
Vladivostock…..these and other atrocities are all part of his diabolical plan.
No, I’m not discussing Dante’s “La Divina Commedia” or Milton’s “Paradise Lost”
(despite the latter being a point of reference) but nevertheless I’m enthralled
by an oeuvre of epic proportions. It’s called “After The Fall” and is the
new hotly anticipated album from Doom Metal stalwarts Forsaken.
This is only the band’s 4th
full-length in their 17-year career and by now Forsaken have crafted their own
brand of Doom – one that is epic, crushing, imaginative and technically
sophisticated. In all honesty I was half-expecting a faux-pas from these
Maltese – after all, for how long can they possibly continue to produce a string
of superlative releases? The answer to this ‘dilemma’ partially emerges when
comparing the band’s discography - all Forsaken’s releases can boast their own
identity despite them all embracing the traditional aesthetics of Doom.
“After The Fall” is an
accomplishment of massive intensity – think of it as the Doom Metal equivalent
of overproof alcohol. Charismatic vocalist/founding member Leo Stivala (also
vocals of Reflection) has taken a big leap ahead in the quality of his singing –
‘The Lord Sayeth’ provides irrefutable evidence of this. Sean Vukovic cements
his reputation as the shredder of Doom. One listen of ‘Vanguards Of The
Void’ or ‘Metatron…’ and his guitar-playing skills will have surely won you
over. The songwriting of “After The Fall” is superlative and each listen will
have you uncovering new facets to the songs. In this context ‘The Sage’ gets my
vote as album highlight. On the other hand, ‘Armida’s Kiss’ is one number I’m
particularly anxious to experience in a live setting.
Compared to previous Forsaken
releases, “After The Fall” seems to possess a great deal of anger. Bassist
Albert Bell (also of Nomad Son) has evidently done extensive research when
penning the album’s lyrics. Biblical quotes abound as do numerous references to
a pantheon of cross-cultural personae that only augment the album’s impact. This
is in fact an album that demands the listener’s undivided attention and not
something you’d want to listen to while, say, driving to work. “Bound to a
cadaverous conscience / Eidolons cast to the otherworld / Chastising the wisdom
of the ageless sage / Star fires doused by the mesmerising haze” This
excerpt from ‘Vanguards Of The Void’ offers an insight as to the drama that
awaits the listener.
hasn’t yet heard this band might not comprehend all this rhetoric – those are
the ones who, more than anyone else, really need to get hold of this
album…now…and appreciate for themselves why “After The Fall” is a milestone of