Malta so far has not exactly been known for their Metal. That it is a great country for a holiday I know first hand, but on our pages we so far only had ARCHAEAN HARMONY, BEHEADED and FORSAKEN, the latter of which we now have twice, because after their 4 tracker “Iconoclast” of last year, these five Maltese folks now have their second full album “Anima Mundi” on offer.
The band already was founded in 1990, back then as BLIND ALLEY, and it took them until 1996 to release their debut album “Evermore”, after that, with the exception of a compilation track, that was it for releases, only in 2002 “Iconoclast” was the first sign of life again via Golden Lake Productions. This now is followed by “Anima Mundi”, again via the Scottish Golden Lake label, which does not release too much, but for that look for quality.
Doom Metal is the chosen weapon of FORSAKEN and I must say – great Doom! And the Maltese play the epic variant, absolutely up my alley! I already know “Evermore”, “Iconoclast” unfortunately completely passed me by, and “Anima Mundi” wins over “Evermore” (already good) hands down, trust me! And that it is Doom is already shown by the playing time of almost 52 minutes and just seven songs, with one of them even being an instrumental of 1,5 minutes, apart from that we get nothing under seven minutes!
Already the opener „Kindred Veil“ conjures up memories of the epic Doomers especially from Sweden and also the USA, slow, damn heavy, with keyboards, great melodies and clear, powerful vocals by fronter Leo Stivala, great start which is even surpassed by the following “Sephiroth”, even more epic and varied, I am at a loss for words, here the different elements are brilliantly meshed together! After the spoken “The Poet’s Nightmare“ (very atmospheric with dark keyboard effects in the background) we get some accentuating growls on “Whispering Soul”.
What is very obvious with FORSAKEN is that they also step on the gas pedal every now and then, as on “Carpe Diem”, where they drive a pretty straight and for Doom also quite fast beat, which definitely loosens up the album, while the keyboards in the closing “All Is Accomplished“ fit greatly and are a good contrast to the heavy riffing, the Maltese again vary the tempo, great closer for this album!
The sound from Mistra Bay’s Temple Studios is very clear and powerful, absolutely befitting this style and also the cover of Chris Zarb is more than remarkable, so FORSAKEN give us a very complete package! For sure the best pure Doom Metal album of the year and dearly recommended to every friend of epic Doom sounds! (Online April 24, 2004)