THE FORSAKEN (Eng.)

– Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What are you currently up to?

P: Hello! We’ve just gotten back from a festival-gig in Germany and are still hung over and a bit sore. Actually it was the first live-gig we’ve done in nearly 5 years so it was about time we shook the dust from our wigs. Other then that we’ve got some more gigs in the planning stage and still doing interviews and other promotional stuff for the album.

– I guess some people won’t know about you due to some years of inactivity so, could you please share some history of the band?

P: The Forsaken was born back in -97 as «Septic Breed». The music sounded kind of like a mix between Death, Kreator and At The Gates. The first demo, «Patterns of Delusive Design» was recorded in the spring of -98 with Darkanes Klas Ideberg behind the wheel. This demo got decent reviews but didn’t really create that big of a splash in the scene. Our second demo «Reaper -99», was recorded in Abyss Studio by Tommy Tägtgren, a much more focused, tighter and in every way superior effort. We kind of knew that this was a recording that would surely create some buzz in the underground and felt that it was time for a name-change. The actual name comes from an old song off the first demo called «Greed of the Forsaken». Anyway, this second demo got us great reviews and response from labels and we finally decided that Century Media were the right partners to help us release the album. Our debut «Manifest of Hate» was released in 2001 and was very well received among fans and ‘zines alike. This album was followed up by «Arts of Desolation» in 2002 and «Traces of the Past» in 2003. After that we went off the grid for a while before returning to the public eye with «Beyond Redemption» in 2012.

 

– How are you feeling about being back into the extreme Metal scene with your new «Beyond Redemption»? Where you eager or more nervous than usual after so many years without studio activity?

P: We are more eager then ever with this album. There wasn’t that much nervousness when it came to the recording. This time we had very good demos of all the songs and pretty much knew how the songs worked.

There’s always some nervousness when releasing a new album and throwing it to the wolves for review but with this one we feel like we’ve done our best work so far and the response has been great!

 

– And are you back to stay or will we have to wait another 9 years until your next opus?

P: We’ve already started writing material so I’ll give you a guarantee that a new album will hit the shelves much earlier then that. If not, I’ll personally perform a naked tap-dance your door-step. We’re really not that slow songwriters but we need a fixed deadline to work towards otherwise we’ll rather sit on the couch and play videogames like the lazy fucks we are.

 

– If you had released this «Beyond Redemption» 8 or 7 years ago, it would have been different to the result we can find on this new release?

P: The result would have been very different. After «Traces…» we didn’t really know what kind of music we wanted to do and looking back I realize there was a serious musical split within the bands songwriting-department. We did write a lot of songs back then but we didn’t really feel they were good enough. We do have some demo-recordings of those songs that I actually listened to recently. It’s really not all bad but it sounded more like melodic thrash, actually not that different from the music we did on our very first demo. However, that wasn’t really what we wanted to sound like. All in all we’ve probably managed to write two whole albums worth of songs that never made it onto any official release so we’re no strangers to throwing stuff away if it doesn’t make it past quality-control.

 

– Your new line-up consists of almost all founder members and the new guitar player, Calle Fäldt. How is everything going with him? As, despite being in THE FORSAKEN for some years now, «Beyond Redemption» is your first record with him.

P: Things are going splendidly! He fits perfectly with the gang, both musically and personally as he is a very sick puppy just like the rest of us. He’s a bloody brilliant guitarist as well. Calle didn’t have time to affect the sound and songwriting-process that much though since it takes a while to get a grip on the way things are done in a band. For the next album I’m confident he will be a big resource though. We’re just starting to get through the first couple of live-gigs with him and so far it’s worked out great.

 

– Due to this and your years of inactivity; has the songwriting process changed?

P: It certainly has. Since we don’t live in the same town anymore we can’t write material like we used to back in the day when most songs evolved as a collective effort in the rehearsal-room. Nowadays we try to record demos individually and work from there. Me, Calle and Stefan all have recording capabilities and are perfectly able to record riffs into something coherent. For this album most of the riff-material was written by me but every band-member gets a say and there is a grueling selection-process before a song gets the official seal of approval.

 

– After giving the album some listens, I can say I think is a more mature effort. Have these years helped? How have you grown/evolved both as individuals and artists since 2003?

P: I can’t really speak for the rest of the band but for me the greatest musical growth as a songwriter has come from getting new influences. In the past years I’ve grown very fond of many different genres of music, folk, electro, house, hip hop as well as new death and black-metal bands. There are lots of musical aspects from other genres that can be incorporated into our music and that is one of the biggest reasons this album sounds the way it does. Growing as a musician is also important in order not to stagnate. I’m not really that keen on practicing scales and technique like a robot, it’s much more fun to learn completely new stuff like jazz or country. I think it makes you a more diverse and exciting musician.

As an individual there are also unavoidable changes from being 23 as opposed to being 32. Inevitably you’ll gather more experience and become a more mature individual. For me it shows in the way that I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to anyone. As a young adult there was always the need to assert myself, nowadays I don’t really give a shit. I don’t have to dress in black and wear band t-shirts in order to feel cool because I know I am.

 

– You have mixed and mastered the album at the Fascination Street Studios, and I think you’ve managed to perfect your sound, still capturing your essence yet mixing it with a sound that makes clear all the details hidden in your music. How was the production process? Have you got with it the result you were looking for?

P: I’d say we got the sound we didn’t even know we wanted. The album was mixed by André Alvinci a new guy at Fascination Street.

For this album we had pretty advanced demo-recordings for all of the songs and we’d gotten quite accustomed to the way they sounded. Getting the early mixes from André was like hearing the songs for the very first time since the sound was drastically different from our demos, in a good way.

We had pretty clear ideas about the different arrangements with the vocal and guitar-parts and how loud they were supposed to be in the mix. André would send test-mixes, we would listen and give him pointers and it was a surprisingly smooth process. A lot of the time André made a different decision about where to place the sounds in the mix and 90% of the time it sounded better with his versions. He also added a lot of subtle FX tracks, sweeping noises and other stuff that perfectly enhanced the song.

 

– All this being said; how could you describe «Beyond Redemption» in 3 words?

P: Death-Fucking-Metal, with an emphasis on «fucking». I’ve never been a fan of to detailed genre-descriptions. «Swedish-semi-melodic-slightly-technical-death-metal» doesn’t have the same ring to it…

 

– Leaving aside the musical aspect of your new opus: what does its cover artwork represent?

P: The cover is the creation of Gustavo Sazes (www.abstrata.net). We gave him a couple of demos, some lyrics and told him to go nuts, so the cover is completely his doing and his interpretation of the lyrics and music. The way I see it the cover embodies the title «Beyond Redemption» by illustrating the futile and hopeless gesture of prayer. The way I see prayer, it’s not only a religious gesture but can be seen as representing any form of appeal to a higher power. A god, a religious or political leader or any authority-figure, all being equally indifferent to the suffering of those beneath them.

 

– This has been your first CD with Massacre Records; how did you hook up with them? And how is everything going with this label?

P: When we finally had a good promo finished there was the same process every unsigned bands go through, we threw it into the sea and hoped someone would bite. We got good responses but Massacre gave us the best deal. Things have worked out just fine, they have done a good job promoting the album and we can’t complain about anything.

 

– If I’m not mistaken you had some trouble with your previous company, Century Media. Would you mind to shed some light on this?

P: There’s not a lot to say. In 2004 they informed us that they in all likelihood wouldn’t release our next album. We were kind of surprised since we hadn’t heard anything negative from them previously, and «Traces of the Past» had been getting really good reviews. We didn’t get any specifics but I’m guessing it had to do with financial issues, declining sales and them taking the decision to focus on music that is more commercial. They did get rid of a lot of smaller death and blackmetal bands at that time and signed a lot of metalcore so probably a change of direction was taking place on CM back then but I’m just speculating.

 

– «Beyond Redemption» is your first record in 9 years. Throughout these years the extreme Metal scene has changed a lot so, what are your thoughts on its current state? In fact there are a lot more bands than in 2000, do you consider this something positive, as it shows there’s interest in Metal, or rather something negative as a lot of bands are just copy-cats?

P: There are a lot of genres I don’t really care for. I’ve never been a fan of the whole «core» stuff for instance or the whiny emo-stuff or the uber-tech math-metal stuff. Then again a genre has to evolve into new sub-genres in order to survive and stay exciting. If every band sounded like we do it would get pretty damn boring. Sure, there are plenty of Soilwork-copycat bands and a million songs that mix clean and grow-vocals with a couple of breakdowns, but who am I to say it’s boring? I don’t listen to it if I don’t like it so it doesn’t bother me. To each his own…

 

– And finally, what are your near-future plans?

P: As I said we’re in the process of doing festivals for the summer and basically getting back on stage and into old form. Other then that we’re kind of eager to get started on the new album. We’ve got some songs finished and it sounds pretty damn cool so far.

 

– That has been everything from my side, thanks you once more. If you want to add some final words; last lines are all yours.

P: Thanks a lot for the interview! I think you just about covered everything. If you haven’t already you abso-fuckin-lutely need to hear «Beyond Redemption». It’s a killer!

 

Sergio Fernández

sergio@queensofsteel.com

 

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