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Forsaken - Pentateuch Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 28 September 2017, 7:58 AM

Although it certainly exists, Christian themed metal is a rarity compared to the amount of bands who speak about other subjects. At the first hint of hearing a band is Christian, a lot of metalheads automatically assume the band won’t be that heavy and will be boring.  Hell, I’ve been guilty of that too. Due to the often morose music and atmosphere, Doom metal is probably the genre associated least with Christianity, other than Black metal of course. FORSAKEN proves that we should all take Christian themed metal more seriously; “Pentateuch” is an album of pure Doom that hits like a face hitting a concrete slab.  “Pentateuch” is actually the first five books of the bible but don’t let that throw you off—it isn’t preachy and seems to be about coming to terms with our collective sins during the chaos we live in on earth.  It is also their fifth full length studio album.

The opening track, “Phaneros,” is an intro and it is pretty standard stuff.  The second track, “Serpent Bride,” hits like a ton of bricks and it feels like the intro track could had been left out and this one used as the real opener.  Sean Vukovic’s riffs are perfect doom: heavy with a hint of darkness and the right amount of groove.  His guitar tone is tight and reminds me of “Those Once Loyal” era Bolt Thrower.  His riffs are indeed meaty and plentiful, as any good Doom riff should be. The next track, “The Banishment,” is a short interlude.  It isn’t bad by any means but it does seem rather pointless in the grand scheme of the album. It features some lower, almost whispered vocals from Leo Stivala and I think that’s what my problem is with the short tracks. Stivala has a huge voice and presence and it needs to be heard to its fullest.  His vocals range from a Gothic wail, perfectly pitched cleans, and rough attacks that really add a ton of personality to the band.

The album gets back on track with the amazing “Primal Wound,” one of my favorites from the album.  The intro riff blew me away; it’s a very playful riff with a classic rock feel and I find it wouldn’t sound out of of place on a BLUE OYSTER CULT album. Vukovic really knows how to make the darkness of Doom stand out as catchy and head banging. Simeon Gatt’s drumming in the song, particularity his double bass and cymbal attacks, are a furious attack.   Doom drummers aren’t always well known for their drumming, but his is a constant, energetic attack of boundless fury.  He plays what he needs to when he needs to but always makes it intense. Like with the rest of the album, Albert Bell’s bass is dirty, muddy, and heavy as a runaway train.  He really shines during the solos when it falls on him to keep the heavy side of the music up.  Without a doubt he is the most important member of the band and the back bone of which they all rest especially when you consider he is the main songwriter.

Another highlight is the “Dove and the Raven,” because it has a more Gothic feel to it, recalling bands like MY DYING BRIDE, KATATONIA, and PARADISE LOST.  The crunchy riff that leads the beginning of the song is a beast and sets up the continuing steam roller nature of the song.  The riffs and bass just create such a heavy atmosphere that crushes the eardrums. The last track, “Apocryphal Winds,” is an (almost) 16 minute tour de force of Doom Metal.  The ending is a little strange as it just cuts off, into a fade out, as if it wasn’t actually finished but the band just kind of gave up on it.  However, the journey to that ending is a roller coaster. Vukovic’s leads throughout the album are tight but here he really shines, with multiple spots where he just belts out great melodies and solos.  The whole song is held together by the deep bass and drums, putting the pieces together as they come but still allowing the guitars and vocals to shine themselves. This is essential doom for the year 2017.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Phaneros (Coming to Light)
2. Serpent Bride
3. The Banishment
4. Primal Wound
5. The Dove and the Raven
6. Decalogue
7. Sabaoth (The Law Giver)
8. Apocryphal Winds
Leo Stivala – Vocals
Albert Bell – Bass
Sean Vukovic – Guitar
Simeon Gatt – Drums
Record Label: Mighty Music


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