I am sure many of us have little stories associated with some of the music albums in our collections. Very often, they make no rhyme or reason, but tend to stick in our heads. I often recall the day when I had to pay for my Embraced by Misery debut by Enforsaken on Lifeless Records. I still recall that auction I “won” on eBay where the CD cover was being photographed along with bare feet of vocalist Steve Sagala, who was apparently taking those pictures in the privacy of his own home. The band was selling multiple copies at a set price, $6.66. The day I showed up at a post office to purchase a money order for that particular amount could not have been less fortuitously chosen. I was looked upon as the evil has already stamped my face. That day the flags at the post office flew half mast. The day was September 11, 2001, sometime in the afternoon.
Shaken up by the events of that day I remember not getting to the Enforsaken CD for quite a while, but when the time came, I recall appreciating quite a bit the sense of melody, twin guitar leads and well flowing songs. However, and probably due to the circumstances under which that EP was acquired, I didn’t turn into an immediate and diehard fan. Later on I missed the band’s Olympic Records full-length debut The Forever Endeavor in 2003 (which by the way included a couple of songs from Embraced by Misery). The unfortunate and unfair demise of Olympic being the reason, or not, Enforsaken is on their third label already, releasing Sinner’s Intuition through Crash.
As much as melodic death genre got mangled and maligned recently, Enforsaken are one of the genre’s better species. One of my major surprises about Sinner’s Intuition is how varied this album really is. These Chicagoans manage to borrow upon the classic Swedish sound without becoming the thousandth reincarnation or being formulaic. Enforsaken can throw fluid thrashy At The Gates/early The Haunted riffs in Witness to the Fall, or make your head nod to the vintage late Dark Tranquillity in Blacklist Assassin. Yet, throughout the album the pieces of music, within the boundaries of the same song, change endlessly like kaleidoscope pictures. The kick ass entrance into Halo of Ruin can break down into a more harmonious lead. Slightly offbeat beginning with not the tightest of blasts on Sever the Ties can end up with the almost soft sing-along chorus. Enemy Angel has a Vikingesque melody guaranteed to be hummed for a long time. To further distinguish itself, Sinner’s Intuition bears an unmistakably American mark of brutality, so many bands on this side of the Atlantic tried to add to the genre commercializing it and becoming MTV Headbanger’s Ball suitable in the process. Because Enforsaken songs are so distinct, complete and diverse, the band seems to be quite above many of their American melodeath peers. With all of my MTV disdain, I would actually tune in to hear songs like Blacklist Assassin or Enemy Angel, if anybody ever bothered to put them on.
Add vocal performance by Steve Sagala and guitar playing by Joe DeGroot and Steve Stell as positive points. It takes line-up stability and endless hours of practice to be so in tune with its partner, as Enforsaken guitarists show. Never a showoff (OK, maybe a little on The Course to Oblivion) the band’s riffs are solid, time changes impeccable and leads well placed, giving every song a point to grab onto. Guitar playing on the album can make the song sound menacing without it being less melodic (The Slain, love those bass plucks too).
Steve Sagala, my old barefoot acquaintance, displays a wide range of vocal patterns on Sinner’s Intuition. Growling, clean singing, preacher’s angry screams (The Slain), leading the gang vocal chorus (Enemy Angel), Steve is all over the palette, and he never falls into a blueprint when you know which voice he is about to use next.
I don’t know if the album would do well commercially, but it certainly deserves good sales. Not the deepest or the most introverted music, Sinner’s Intuition is a collection of eight well-crafted, guitar driven, fist-forward and uplifting melodic songs.
Killing Songs :
Blacklist Assassin, The Slain, Enemy Angel
|Alex quoted 81 / 100|
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