The Forsaken - Traces of the Past
Century Media
Death Metal
15 songs (72'31")
Release year: 2004
The Forsaken, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

How often is the cliché “this is our most mature album to date” used? More often than it should be, as far as I am concerned. Moreover, time and again bands use it when it is time to hide behind a façade, when they risk deviating from their roots and fall flat on their faces. Not The Forsaken. They just say “we have been gone for too damn long” and deliver Traces of the Past. They didn’t even call this album their “most mature effort to date”. I did it for them. Yet, unlike all those lame excuses above, The Forsaken stick to their guns and play monstrously heavy, memorable and technically dizzying death metal.

Not counting the demos, Traces of the Past is the third full-length album by this Swedish outfit. Surprisingly, in this day and age anyway, the band stayed mostly intact, having only lost a bass player from the 2000 Manifest of Hate. Blending in influences from old school Swedish death metal of Dismember and Grave, as well as melodicism of At The Gates and Sacrilege, The Forsaken used to play at the neckbreaking thrashing pace blending melodic and brutal part seamlessly. Traces of the Past takes all of this to another level, and brings in the element of … gasp … atmospherics, slowing things down just a notch.

OK, OK, not every song has it. There are very “old school” blistering speedsters here, like the title track, God of Demise and First Weapon of Choice. Full of attitude and slight undercurrent melody they remind me of the old The Forsaken. Some songs go as far as reaching for a punky stance and screamy vocals (The Empire). The “new” element adds in ever so subtly, yet brings a different dimension. Meshing helter-skelter thrash and “Hell’s Bells” death metal on the opener A Time to Die provides a glimpse of what is to come, and things continue with Acid With Acid where headbanging thrash and borderline black metal screams incorporate almost atmospheric layered guitar moments with the harmonized lead guitar work. Alternating tremolo and sledgehammer riffs in One More Kill remind of the countrymates Amon Amarth and Naglfar with the chord progression right after the solo leaving me speechless. Opening of Glitches Will Tell treads on American Death Metal territory in general and Immolation specifically, just like Serpents Tongue starts from afar, destroys everything with its heavy helicopter riffs and midpace headbanging. The same “atmospheric” feeling comes in at the end of First Weapon of Choice with its awesome outro licks.

Guitar work of Stefan Holm and Patrick Persson has always been top-notch, but on this album it is exceptional. Just about every song has a solo - superscale fast, in your face, intricate – I am going to run out of epithets. Nicke Grabowski drums the whole way as there is no tomorrow, fast on the double bass, fast on the blast, solid on the kicks, heard on cymbals (God of Demise). Anders Sjoholm screams and growls, although I still prefer growls, especially as they fit the newfound layered style better. Tommy Tagtgren of The Abyss Studio once claimed that The Forsaken were one of the most talented bands he ever worked with, and his respect for the band is demonstrated with another excellent production work. Cover art is trademark Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity and Cabin Fever Media).

As if 10 top-notch tracks weren’t enough 5 bonus tracks are present. Four are covers of other bands, the ones that obviously influenced The Forsaken, and the fifth one is their own Project: The New Breed 666 (Manifest of Hate, the version which I don’t have). The Forsaken invoke the 1992 track of Grave You’ll Never See from the similarly titled album, and Slayer’s Spirit in Black (probably the best track on Seasons in the Abyss). Good things can be said about those covers, but I will save it for the other two, Metallica’s Blackened (And Justice for All) and Creeping Death (Ride the Lightning). Somebody, please make the Fallen Gods listen to how good their old music can sound. Blackened is, finally, mixed with proper bass levels and Creeping Death is even thrashier than the original. Both songs have guitar fireworks that rival the originals, and those were Kirk Hammet solos, when he used to play some.

First Dismember, now The Forsaken, the fountain of Swedish death metal is full with life and energy in 2004.

Killing Songs :
All are great, but my creme of the crop is One More Kill, Traces of the Past, Serpents Tongue, God of Demise, First Weapon of Choice
Alex quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by The Forsaken that we have reviewed:
The Forsaken - Beyond Reality reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
The Forsaken - Arts of Desolation reviewed by Alex and quoted 79 / 100
The Forsaken - Manifest Of Hate reviewed by Marc and quoted 89 / 100
3 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!