Release DetailsLABEL Crash Music
RELEASED ON 3/7/2006
posted on 3/2006 By:
Normally I don’t have a stomach for the Neo-Gothenburg sound unless it’s done extremely well but there was something about the bands' sound that peaked my interest. I still can’t quite place what it is about Enforsaken that I like so much, but I immediately leaped at the chance to review their new offering Sinner’s Intuition. With so many bands out today polluting the genre it’s hard to find a high quality melodic death album that doesn’t rely on its influences to heavily for its identity and that doesn’t come off as an overdone cliché.
Chicago based band Enforsaken originally grabbed my attention back when they made a fairly large splash back in 2004 with the well played but in my opinion, lacking album The Forever Endeavor. Gothenburg…there, I said it. Take it as you will but these Americans borrow heavily on the Swedish variation of death metal to create their mildly progressive melodic death. Just try to put aside any preconceived notions that you might have about the genre and judge Enforsaken on their own merit.
Sinner’s Intuition boasts a burly production that showcases Enforsaken’s knack for interjecting infectious melody that doesn’t detract from their frequently aggressive delivery. Enforsaken sport a surprisingly unforced, mature sound that requires equal levels of musicianship from all of its members. Vocalist Steven Sagala takes apparent care and effort into interjecting plenty of character and variety into his scream. Sagala even takes several opportunities within the album to offer the dynamic contrast of his tasteful clean vocals to keep things varied (most clean vocals in death metal piss me off but he pulls it off well). The guitars absolutely shred. Joe DeGroot and Steve Stell make an absolutely killer guitar duo as both ballsy rhythm and virtuoso leads blend into a perfectly coherent harmony. I could make the obvious comparisons to traditional Gothenburg bands like Dark Tranquillity, but there is something distinctly different about Enforsaken in contrast to their Swedish peers in how they rely heavily on more speed metal and progressive styles of melody than simply rehashing In Flames or the likes.
Sinner’s Intuition reminds me in some odd ways of Quo Vadis in their progressive exploit of melody ala death thrash especially on “Blacklist Assasin” with its intense head banging opening and fist pounding chanting chorus. They even take the opportunity for the occasional power metal gallop to add more dimension to their sound. “The Slain” starts off heavier and thicker, backing off of their more melodic leanings and relying on even some Floridan death aspects. The crunchy death thrash rumbling of “Halo of Ruin” with its thick chugging palm muted rhythms features some damn impressive interplay of melody and force ala nothing short of a brutal breakdown. All of the variety is thrown into a progressive amalgam of sounds
Strangely enough, I even heard some subtle but not too normal Carcass influences adding an interesting undercurrent to the album. Don’t ask me where because I couldn’t point to one exact moment that made me make the connection, but it's there somewhere. “Sever the Ties” opens with a façade of temerity before erupting into melodic havoc only to end in a break of tempo towards slower styles. “The Words in Red” has a surprisingly different metal core gait from its two-step riffs but evades the pitfall by interjecting enough Arch Enemy stylings to keep things on the right track. “The Course to Oblivion” ends the album in a majestic grandiose closer that parallels album opener “Witness to the Fall” in that both songs are excellently crafted openings and final statements of a determined band with a very distinct vision of what they’ve set out to do and what it’ll take to get there.
With a more focused album and tighter songwriting, Sinner’s Intuition is a horns up contemporary Gothenburg melodic death extravaganza. Dynamic contrast and variety have always been two of the most important aspects to me in the majority of the music I listen to and Sinner's Intuition has a plethora of both. Maybe it’s just me but the boys in Enforsaken have made a bold step in the right direction.
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