The Forsaken - Manifest Of Hate Century Media Records - 2001 /images/covers/TheForsaken-ManifestofHate.jpg The newest band to enter into the melodic death metal genre is the Swedish group The Forsaken. The Forsaken play an aggressive, technical, tight, pounding style of music that has more in common with death metal than with other melodic death metal bands (such as In Flames). I would say they are a combination: part At the Gates and part Morbid Angel. There is plenty of melody featured in The Forsaken's music, but it also has a lot of the features of traditional death metal. It is extremely brutal and unrelenting, and it shows no mercy. Manifest of Hate was produced at Abyss Studios by Tommy Tägtgren and has a very big sound that enhances the overall feel of the album and adds to the aggressiveness. Vocalist Anders Sjöholm's singing reminds me of Mikael Åkerfeldt (of Opeth). The guitar playing of Stefan Holm and Patrik Persson is fast and technical. Nicke Grabowski is the drummer, and he fills the music with plenty of blast beats and extreme double-bass pounding. Michael Håkansson attacks the bass guitar just as aggressively as the rest of the group. Nicke is credited with writing most of the lyrics, but Anders gets credit for two songs, and they are haunting, dark, and morbid. The album is packed with ten outstanding tracks, all varied, which makes each one memorable. One of the songs, "Intro/Manifest of Hate," is actually a short orchestral instrumental piece that gives the listener a breather, letting you relax and let the first half of the album sink in while preparing you for the continuing mayhem of the last four songs. One of my favorites songs of the album is "Dehumanized Perspective," because it features a prominent, haunting melody line played by the bass during the chorus section. Some fantastic solos strengthen this song. The first song of the album, "Seer's Hatred," starts Manifest Of Hate off in a grand fashion. It includes plenty of excellent riffs throughout the song and some blazing solos. This track is actually one of the most technical songs found on the album, with plenty of tempo changes. It is a great highlight of the album. A surprising aspect of the album is how at times the music coupled with the vocal lines is actually catchy. This is true in the song "Betrayal Within Individuals." Right after the first verse, there is a part of the song where the lyrics really shine, and it features some killer guitar hooks and leads. I swear, people have looked at me like I am some sort of freak when I sing along to this part while driving in my car. "Collector of Thoughts" is another gem, and is my favorite song on the album. It is filled with outstanding guitar riffs and amazing drumming. Patrik spices up the intro with a quick solo - this song actually reminds me of Cryptopsy's style. Manifest Of Hate should be a no-brainer buy for those of you who enjoy this style of music. I find it quite refreshing and very exciting. The Forsaken has definitely injected some ferocious energy into this genre; I like the fact that they are more aggressive and technical than other melodic death metal bands. This is another great new band (there have been a lot of them lately), and I will look forward to more music from them in the future. For those of you who live in Europe, make sure you get a chance to see The Forsaken if you can while they tour with Carnal Forge, The Haunted, and Nile. Damn, that is a hell of a touring package! Those who live in the States, buy Manifest Of Hate and play it loud!!