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Gods Forsaken - In A Pitch Black Grave Award winner

Gods Forsaken
In A Pitch Black Grave
by Gabriel “Svrtr” Zimmerman at 25 June 2017, 8:24 AM

It is often always interesting and a surprise to hear the first releases of brand new bands, and today I get to do just that with the presentation of the Norwegian/Swedish international death metal collective GODS FORSAKEN and their first studio release "In A Pitch  Black Grave." Created only last year, the band has a self prescribed mission of “playing filthy old school Swedish Death Metal with no frills”. All three members played together in the band JUST BEFORE DAWN and beyond that all three have a plethora of bands from which they gained experience and skill, and so without further ado let us dive right in.

The album opens with the namesake of the album “In a Pitch Black Grave”, opening with an eerie ambient guitar in the distance and the sound of a struggling victim moments before evisceration, then rapidly dives into the hardcore brutality that borders Grindcore in its tone, but nonetheless containing the heavily layered riffs, drum beats, and impressive bass work that is phenomenal. There isn’t a single moment of boredom with  the song progressing in a manner that does well to remain interesting, alternating between ear bursting verses and much more melodic and gradual stretches. This single song creates incredibly high hopes and expectations for the rest of the album, and undoubtedly starts off the album on one of the strongest notes I can think of in recent memory. Of course, there is the ever present threat of failing to keep songs visually interesting, but apparently that is not one in the subsequent song “By Hate He Comes”. With the drum beat leading the focus and progression of the song, it initially opts for an easy to follow 1-2-1-2 beat, and then from there you are taken on a journey from rapid fire blast beats to a more somber tone with a focus on slower riffs, and returning to an overall state of structured chaos complete with brutal riffs and a relentless assault on the senses, and all throughout the beat never sounds repetitive and maintains its independence.

Of course, sound always creates an atmosphere and as such the progression is hugely important in a song. When to have one element reaching forward, when to introduce new elements, when to become increasingly complex or maintain a sense of “calm” (which is always relative in extreme metal genres), and while every song can show this “Souls Torn Apart” showcases this incredibly well because of the massive variation throughout the song that always makes logical sense and always keeps coherency and chaotic complexity in balanced measures. This can be said of every song on the album, yet I feel none does it so well as this song. Soaring guitars, brutal and simple yet satisfying riffs, incredibly melodic soaring lead guitars that follow the calm after the chaos cliche (for lack of a better term),  I must beg everyone who reads this to listen to this song if only one from the album.

Next up is “An Odyssey of Broken Bones”, maintaining all the former crushing basswork and shredding riffs of earlier songs and maintaining a consistent riff throughout the song. Said overall beat is largely relatively upbeat, and overall the song comes closer mid-tempo relative to other songs on the album. Being the  final true song on the album, it fully embraces the Old School Swedish Death and encapsulates it well, all the while showing the influences and sounds that one can directly draw to the wave of Swedish MeloDeath that came later on. Simple, yet a strong send off for an incredible album. Sadly but finally the album closes with a spoken word sort of exposition with “Chronicles of a Maniac”. A simple yet effective tune playing with little variation besides perhaps in tempo at parts. It is well done, if a tad bit cliche, but admittedly 3 minutes is a long time to carry it on. Beyond that though, I admittedly would have found it fine to add on 30 seconds or a minute to “An Odyssey of Broken Bones” for the finale of the album. Ultimately it is not important as we were blessed to be given this album and an  extra three minutes isn’t something to complain about.

As stated before, this album perfectly encapsulates some of the sounds and feelings of Old School Swedish Death Metal, but by doing so it is nothing super innovative. It is creative and unique in its sound, but to say so means one can easily identify GODS FORSAKEN from other bands such as DEMONICAL, and that it brings nothing new to the genre. However, sometimes something great doesn’t need something new as OSSDM is a staple in the extreme genres of metal and to bring in a new or innovative element is to fail in the band’s mission to play just that, the genre that was and is so well loved. Beyond this though, the band is f***ing brilliant and keeps each song interesting and new, and while everything was great I must give props to Mr. Schweick for his guitar and bass work, and especially his lung crushing bass work that I would love to play in three foot room surrounding speakers. I just wish I could find the words to do this album justice. As a final note to the band, I love  this work and cannot wait for more, and if you ever tour the US please come to Minnesota. I would recommend this band to everyone who loves death metal and highly encourage at least one listen to this amazing album.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. In A Pitch Black Grave
2. By Hate He Comes
3. Born of Blasphemy
4. Ashes of the Dead
5. Black Winds of Genocide
6. Curse of the Serpent
7. Souls Torn Apart
8. An Odyssey of Broken Bones
9. Chronicles of a Maniac
Mr. Harbinger - Drums
Mr. Schweick - Guitars, Bass
Dr. Caligari - Vocals
Record Label: Soulseller Records


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Edited 07 December 2021

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