Review Summary: The execution is perfect. The originality...not so much. Unfortunately, the latter is slightly more important nowadays.
The time machine could no doubt be a potential useful item for a myriad of circumstances. I would really like to take some bands, place the music they have written in their hands, and send them back several years. Why" There are many bands out there that are damn good at what they do: musicianship, songwriting, and overall presentation. But there is a difference between execution and originality. As well as a band may play, they can never stand out as much as they could if they presented something completely and refreshingly new. So if I sent some bands back several years in a time machine, maybe they could have been a major influence in the appropriate time, rather than a talented cloak in the current time. That being said, allow me to introduce the Chicago metal act Enforsaken. They were formed in 1998 and after releasing three albums, broke up in 2006. There are many elements, primarily from metal, that comprise the sound that is Enforsaken. It is more or less a well mixed amalgamation of Gothenburg, melodic death, and thrash metal, as well as some classic metal spanning since the 80s. Based on this description, what you might expect from such a mix of genres, you will most likely get.
The album maintains more or less the same pumping tempo throughout the entirety of the album. The guitar work is consistently chugging and energetic, allowing you to easily and persistently bob your head. The hooks are no doubt catchy and are varied and found throughout the majority of every song. It seems the band relies heavily on double guitar assaults, which do greatly aid to that driving chugging sound. Another thing that is very prevalent are solos, and I mean solos that remind you that this is metal, and they love the likes of veterans such as Metallica and Iron Maiden. Now these solos are interweaved throughout many of the songs, sometimes multiple times, and they last upwards of half a minute and longer. And these solos are never unnecessary or dragged out; they are well-played, fine manifestations of talent and serve as many of the highlights of the album.
To compliment the chugging assault is Dave Swanson on the drums. The drums are impeccable, playing the driving rhythms that only facilitate the thrusting guitars, the majority being alternating cymbal/snare beats. The blast beats and speedy sections do not fail in showing off Swanson’s skills. The contingent double bass is expectedly very predominant and always on top of the beat, but when it comes down to it, there is nothing very remarkable or revolutionary about the drumming.
There are also various moments (such as in “The Forever Endeavor” and “Poison Me”) where the chugging takes a break and soft interludes sooth the pulsating eardrums. These usually feature a single guitar playing a pretty melodic rhythm in concordance with an upbeat drumbeat. A slight problem might be however that the inclusions of solos after such parts are very predictable. But no matter what, whether these interludes are taking place or the chugging assault continues, the overall feel is aggressive and upbeat. Never does the music feel somber or atmospheric. I guess this can be good, but once again, it leads into slight problems of the need for variation.
The vocals delivered by Steven Sagala stay rather static throughout, usually residing the mid-ranged growl. There are some clean vocals to be found, but not as you may think. It sounds like a tenor operatic chanting. It gives a very European feel, but I remind you that these guys are from Chicago. They do very well in creating the standard Swedish or wherever else feel. Sagala’s vocals can be compared perhaps to Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity, and the same can be said for certain aspects of the musical style.
Almost all the songs are around the five to six minute mark, which works in favor of and against them. Indeed, the songs are full of vigor and very catchy but, the ten tracks have somewhat the same structure and with these lengths, this construction can become easily tired out around halfway. However, the final track “All for Nothing” is the longest track at a little over eight minutes but serves greatly as a closer that provides the appropriate epic feel of a finale. This song is almost a battle song, projecting enough vivacity and heartiness for one to point towards the field and confidently march (rather quickly) to meet and engage the opponent. The chorus is even one to sing along to in such a scenario, as ridiculous as it may be in reality.
Nevertheless, the overall album doesn’t give much of anything new. Additionally, many of the songs, especially after repeated listens, end up sounding not exactly the same but very unvaried. But don’t be mistaken. This album definitely isn’t bad. In fact, the talent is maturely communicated, the energy and passion is compelling, and the package in its entirety is very well executed…just the talent is dying for progression and the sound is screaming for fresh innovation. But don’t refrain from quickly checking them out. This is the highest rating a 3 can be.