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Forsaken, The - Of goat-killing coffee, a functioning democracy and toilet-bowls... - Mai 2001


Who has said that Old School-Elk-Death is dead? THE FORSAKEN are the very alive example of the opposite, with a brilliant mixture of super-heavy Death and great melodies they hurl their "Manifest Of Hate" at us! Reason enough to shoot a volley of questions towards Sweden...

How did THE FORSAKEN come into being?

Ok... it all started in the autumn of 97. I guess it was unavoidable for us starting to play together since people that are interested in playing brutal music don't exactly grow on trees where we come from... Back then the band-members were: Nicke, drums, Stefan, guitar, me (Patrik), guitar and Roine, bass. And as you can see we didn't have any vocalist. About half a year later we recorded our first demo, "Patterns Of Delusive Design" with a session vocalist. The band-name at that time was SEPTIC BREED and the music had the same ingredients, brutality mixed with melody, but not as fast and less technical. Still, it was a good demo, which got us a nice response. After the demo we had a dead period that lasted a month or two, but after that we started working on the songs you'll find on "Manifest Of Hate".
In the autumn of 99 we entered the Abyss B studio to record our second demo, "Reaper 99" with a new name: THE FORSAKEN. By then we had joined forces with our current vocalist Anders. A bit earlier Roine had left the band due to his studying and he was replaced by Michael. "Reaper 99" got an amazing response and gave us 6-7 record-deal offers. We finally decided to sign to Century Media.

Michael Håkansson also is with EVERGREY and EMBRACED, while Anders (OMINOUS/MASSGRAV) appears "courtesy of Holy Records". Are you five guys a real band despite of that?

We are definitely a real band! Even though the both of them have other bands they are equally dedicated to THE FORSAKEN. The core of the band has always been me, Stefan and Nicke since we live in the same town and rehearse on a regular basis. As a result of that we also wrote all of the music on "Manifest Of Hate", me and Stefan came up with the riffs and the three of us arranged the songs. However, Michael and Anders will definitely be more involved in the song-writing for the next album, both in making music and writing lyrics, thus making the five of us more of a single unit then before.

THE FORSAKEN - does this name have any particular meaning for you?

As I said, we changed the name just before we recorded "Reaper 99". We never were comfortable with the old name and we figured the time was right to change it since we had a feeling the demo was good enough to give us a reputation in the underground and maybe give us a record deal, and it did. The name itself comes from a song called "Greed Of The Forsaken" on our first demo.

"Manifest Of Hate" features some really heavy Death Metal, beyond the typical Göteborg-sound, more going into the direction of the early Nineties-Swedish Death Metal-sound, yet with enough melodies still. How did you pick this style?

We didn't really pick our style, it just turned out that way. Stefan and I were influenced by both brutal, and melodic music, but by totally different bands. I was quite into both the melodic stuff like IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILLITY, but also the brutal bands like MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE, CANNIBAL CORPSE etc etc... and Stefan, who wasn't into Death Metal at the time was influenced by both heavy Thrash-stuff like ANNIHILATOR, old MEGADETH and PANTERA, but also more melodic stuff like JUDAS PRIEST ("Painkiller") and also non-Metal guitar-music like Satriani and Steve Morse. Our sound represents all of our influences in one way or another.

Which bands could be named as influences for your sound?

I guess METALLICA are big influences to me since they are the reason I started playing guitar in the first place, but you can't really tell by listening to the album. As for Stefan, I don't really know any besides the bands mentioned above.

Contrary to quite a number of Death Metal-bands you use more varied rhythms, with the usual blastbeats, but also with some fat double-bass-work. What do you think of those pure blastbeat-Death Metal-bands?

Personally, I think music gets quite boring without variation. I mean, music isn't about playing as fast as possible... A band isn't good just because they have a drummer that can grind like he has got some kind of strange muscle spasms... Of course you get impressed by an album with ultra-fast blastbeats at first but... without cool arrangements and good riffs it's going to end up in the trash-can eventually.

Judging from the song-titles, the album seems to bear its name deservedly. Could you please tell me a bit more about the lyrics?

The lyrics deal with the dark sides of modern day society such as cloning, DNA-manipulation, artificial intelligence etc etc... Nicke wrote most of the lyrics for the album so I guess they reflect his personal views and intimate thoughts. There is a difference between Anders' and Nicke's lyrics I think. Nicke's lyrics deal with the topics mentioned above while Anders lyrics are a bit more obscure. Anders only wrote lyrics for two of the songs on the album, perhaps he will write more for the next one, time will tell...

"Manifest Of Hate" is only an intro on the album. Why did you pick it for the title?

We didn't want any of the songs to be a title-track so we choose the instrumental track instead. The track is named after the album and not the other way around.

The info of Century Media describes you as a mixture of "the untamed power of AT THE GATES, the song-writing wit of ARCH ENEMY, the melodic evilness of DISSECTION and the obscure atmospheric twists of MORBID ANGEL". What do you think of this? How would you personally describe the sound of THE FORSAKEN?

I don't really think that description is accurate. I don't think we sound THAT much like any of the bands. Sure, we have a few AT THE GATES-sounding riffs, but if you listen to the entire album there really are very few similarities. But on the other hand we've been compared to a lot of different bands. The typical description we get is: "THE FORSAKEN sounds like a mix between blah blah, blah blah, and with some blah blah influences". Of course it's annoying always being compared to others, but it's quite unavoidable when you are a new band. After a few releases I guess we'll get described as THE FORSAKEN and nothing else.
I can sum up our sound in two words: Death Metal. If you're looking for a more in-depth-analysis... hear the album.

You've recorded "Manifest Of Hate" at the Abyss, with Tommy Tägtgren at the helm. How did the recordings go?

Pretty smooth. Apart from the regular technical difficulties with electronic equipment that you'll encounter in any studio there weren't any major problems, just a couple of hangovers that were cured by a few cups of Abyss-coffee (coffee, strong enough to kill a goat from a distance of 20 yards...). Tommy is quite capable at the controls and really calm and anti-stressful. The only thing I don't like about the album is the lead-guitar-sound, but I'd say we got a unique sounding production. It doesn't really have the typical Abyss-sound, or what do you think?

It had not been your first meeting with him, having recorded your "Reaper"-demo-3-track-mini-CD there already. It's pretty unusual that a young band records a demo-CD in such a renowned studio... How did you get there?

Well, Anders had recorded an album with OMINOUS in Tommy's studio half a year earlier, so it was from Anders we got the idea, plus Tommy was able to give us a really good deal for a weekend of recording, and we definitely got our money's worth. I haven't heard any demo with a better sound. There was never any question where the album was going to be recorded.

"Project: The New Breed 666" is the only song off "Reaper" that hasn't made it to "Manifest Of Hate". Is there any reason, why it has been left out so far?

We recorded ten tracks, but only nine were to be on the album. The other was to end up as a Japanese bonus-track. This was decided by a democratic vote... I guess I was the only one that thought it should have been on the album. Democracy never works for me... ha ha! Well... I guess it was a bit too melodic and didn't really fit in with the rest of the material. A bit of a shame since it is a good song really, and the album version was a lot faster and better executed then the demo-version.

Is "Reaper" still available?

I guess so... I think we have copies left of both our demos. If interested, send a mail to: septicbreed@hotmail.com.

What were the reasons for you signing with Century Media? You had mentioned six or seven offers.

We chose Century Media, because they could offer us the best distribution and the biggest studio-budget. Also we had the best and most frequent contact with them and they seemed really eager to sign us. So far so good, I'd say we made the right choice.

The cover is pretty unusual. Does it show anything special and did you have a say in it, too?

I think it reflects the lyrics just perfectly. Drawn covers tend to look a bit "nice" and clean. Our cover is dark and grim looking without being a picture of guts in a toilet-bowl or something like that.
Century Media had a cover for the album ready only a week after we signed to them. The cover is made by an American artist called Mike Bohatch. Yes, we had a say in the making of the cover since we asked for some adjustments to the original. Both the original (witch goes under the name of "Corruption And Mayhem"), the cover ("Forsaken CD art") and a whole lot more cool pictures by the same artist can be seen at www.eyesofchaos.com. Check it out!

How does it look like for live-shows?

We have a couple of gigs in Sweden and Denmark, but nothing besides that. We had our fair share of live gigs on the NILE, THE HAUNTED, CARNAL FORGE-tour that was in February. We'll concentrate on writing new material for the album which will be recorded in November.

After the boom of the early Nineties, the traditional Swedish Death Metal was quite, well, dead in the past years, but only now seems to be coming back again. How do you see the development? And what do you think about the whole flood of Göteborg-sound-bands?

I don't know... you really can't keep track of things the way you could a few years ago. There are just too many bands. Here in Sweden, probably a lot more than 50% of all Metalheads play in a band. This overcrowding, of course, results in a lot of really crappy bands, but also a lot of really good bands that unfortunately risk drowning in the vast amount of crappy bands.
I think the entire Göteborg-sound is running a bit out of steam. The bigger bands (IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILLITY etc...) just aren't as good as they used to be and there aren't any new bands to claim the throne. We grew a bit tired of it and it really shows in our music. The older songs on the album that were written sometime in 98 ("Deamon Breed", "Truth Of God", "Soulshade") sound a lot more Göteborg than the newer songs from 00 ("Incinerate", "Inseminated By The Beast").

ow do you see the acceptance of Heavy Metal in Sweden? Despite HAMMERFALL going to #1 and IN FLAMES to #19, Metal seems to have quite a hard time in Sweden commercially...

Not at all. The interest in Metal is really big in Sweden at the moment, maybe because of "easy-listening" bands like HAMMERFALL and IN FLAMES. The only thing that's really bad is live gigs. Not many bands want to play in Sweden since the turnouts are quite unpredictable, but usually really bad if you aren't DIMMU BORGIR... And the typical Swedish crowd is the main group of people standing against the back wall and maybe 2-3 (usually drunk as hell) brave ones headbanging in front of the stage. But besides that, the number of Metalheads is rapidly increasing, except in our home town with has always been barren when it comes to any music besides disco or hip hop...

Which albums rotate in the THE FORSAKEN-players at the moment?

That varies from week to week, but the play-list at the moment looks like this:
AMORPHIS - "Elegy"
EMPEROR - "Anthems To The Welkin' At Dusk"
THE KOVENANT - "Animatronik"

And for the end a question that always brings up the rear of my interviews: What is your favourite question about THE FORSAKEN that you haven't been asked yet, but would finally like to answer?

I thought it was your job to come up with the questions, he he... Well seriously, I think you managed to include the essential questions so there's really not much to add, except maybe that we'll be recording a SLAYER-cover ("Spirit In Black", I think) for a tribute-album within the next month. Besides that I can't think of anything. Keep your eyes open for the next album that will be due for release sometime early next year, and if you haven't picked up "Manifest Of Hate" yet, DO IT!!! That's an order!
Thanx for the interview and good luck with "The Metal Observer"!
Get drunk, bang your head and stay Metal.

Discography:

2001: Manifest Of Hate (CD, Century Media)

Alexander Melzer



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