Release DetailsLABEL Olympic
RELEASED ON 3/23/2004
The Forever Endeavor
posted on 4/2004 By:
I’ve been swimming in melodic death metal recently: Hearse, Within Y, The Duskfall, Centinex, Evemaster and Norther, all vying for my ear and the one I’ve seen pushed the most by varying media outlets has been Chicago’s Enforsaken. With a highly regarded EP, Embraced by Misery, Enforsaken looked to be the US version of In Flames, and steal some of the thunder from Beyond the Embrace. The question is though, other than being American and peddling a traditionally European sound going to be enough for Enforsaken to challenge their peers across the pond? Well not really, while competently implemented, produced and played, The Forever Endeavor (as most post 1998 melodic death metal albums) is simple reworking of NWSDM formulas that lacks identity beyond trying to sound like In Flames and Dark Tranquility, even the cover art is by Niklas Sundin. The only thing missing is a guy named Tomas singing.
The dual guitars shred and weave, backed by a pristine James Murphy mastering job, the solos soar and the vocals rasp, all as if taken from “Martha Stewart’s melodeath recipe book”. While absorbing all 10 solid, well written tracks, all I can help thinking is “Oh that’s a good riff-for a US band, or “That a nice solo-for a US band”. I’m not saying I’m ethnocentric, as this album would not have gotten higher marks had it originated from Sweden, its just the fact this is a US bands always seems to creep into my mind, the same why Brutal European death metal is always compared to Morbid Angel and such.
Most of the structured riffs and solos on this album you have at some time or another heard before, no doubt from 1993-1998, even if rendered with appropriate vigor and professionalism from a young act steeped in admiration for their European peers. Guitarists Joe DeGroot and Steve Stell perform their required sonic delicacies with skill and precision, but i'll admit I can’t recall any special feeling of overwhelming pleasure as the 10 songs generally sauntered by with a familiar gait. “Dead Night, Dead Light” and “Poison Me” starts both start out of the gates with more initial urgency, but soon reverts to the all too common album's predictable, mid paced galloping pace. The sort of by the numbers feel of the rest of the album is compounded by the length of the songs as they all clock in around the five or six minute mark, making for a long listen, that essentially becomes a predictable long listen. Only two tracks remotely had my pulse quicken; the tasty solo laden "Cloaked in Need", and the moody, rocking closer "All For Nothing". The latter being moderately catchy but again, it seems a mandatory addition to the band's repertoire to check off all the requirement list for sounding Swedish (the 'slow' song), however, the clean vocals (another check mark off the list) were a welcome change from the usual fair though, with a more gravelly tone. I hope this review doesn’t come across as too negative, but to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed by this band other than their ability to sound like other bands. They are no doubt talented and perform their chosen style well, but it lacked real depth and identity, in a genre dominated by Europeans that live and breath this style subconsciously, Enforsaken, just seems …forced. It lacks the aggression of Detonation and the sheer intricacy of the Finns.
For die hard fans of the genre, and those wanting to support the home front, you can do no worse than The Forever Endeavor, and it's no doubt a solid example of the genre…for a US band.
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