Forsaken (1990-present): a Doom Metal band from Estonia.
oom metal band Forsaken, featuring Leo Stivala (vocals), Albert Bell (bass), Sean Vukovic (guitars), Mario Ellul (Keyboards) and Simeon Gatt (drums) has remained one of the most consistent and long-standing bands in Malta's underground scene throughout its eleven year existence. The band started out as progressive metallers Blind Alley and the initial line-up, formed in September 1990, featured Leo Stivala (vocals), Cay Schembri (ex-Fall Out; keyboards), Kevin Azzopardi (guitars), Simeon Gatt (drums) and Tony Azzopardi (bass).
The band adopted the name Forsaken shortly after the recruitment of ex-Kremation and ex-Vandals bassist Albert Bell in July 1991. The new line-up set about writing new material that displayed a wide array of Metal-oriented influences. Forsaken's first live performance was at the Radio Hall in Hamrun, Malta on Friday September 13, 1991, co-headlining a gig with local thrashers Manslaughter and Extremity. After the live debut, the band released its debut demo, Requiem. The demo was a low-budget affair recorded in three days towards the end of December of that year, with Marcel (ex-Beheaded; vocals) handling the production. Requiem received favorable reviews. It also culminated in a deal with the French underground independent label 'Arkham Productions'.
The band released a 7" EP on 'Arkham' entitled Virtues Of Sanctity in July 1999. The EP featured a re-worked version of Where Angels Have Fallen from the Requiem demo and another track titled Confessing My Desolation. The EP would be released to widespread acclaim in the underground scene furthering the band's recognition with doom metal enthusiasts worldwide. Prior to the EPs release, however, Cay Schembri (keyboards) left but Daniel Magri (ex-Manslaughter) replaced him with the intention of forwarding a stronger guitar-based, riff-oriented sound. This line-up remained stable until late 1993 when the next to leave was guitarist Kevin Azzopardi. His replacement was Sean Vukovic (ex-Filletti & Friends).
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Between 1992 and 1993, Forsaken's efforts were mainly focused on the live front and soon the band developed into one of the Island's strongest live acts. They would also be the first underground Maltese Metal act to play at traditionally hard rock venues in Malta such as the Harlequin rock Club and the Rock Cafe. Between February and March 1994, the band embarked on a tour throughout France and Spain, playing in various cities like Grenoble, Lyon, Paris, Rennes, Lille, Barcelona and Venaros teaming up with a number of foreign underground bands including, Oddmongers (France), Human Waste (Spain), Melem (France) and Lone Wolf (France). The tour was followed with further gigs in Malta and Gozo where the band still thrives from dedicated followers. In May 1995, another mainstay in the band's repertoire, Moon Dancer, was recorded. Moon Dancer was also Forsaken's contribution to the first all-Maltese underground CD compilation The Storm Has Begun (1995) on 'Storm Records'.
In February 1997, the band officially released its long-awaited debut CD entitled Evermore on 'Storm Records', an album that received favorable reviews in a number of established magazines even as far away as Canada's Metal-rules, and USA's Eternal Frost Zine. Forsaken's efforts on Evermore landed the band with a "best-band" nomination in the 1997 Malta Music Awards, possibly the first occasion where a local Maltese Metal act received some sort of recognition at a mainstream-oriented musical event. Shortly afterwards, the band bolstered its line-up by recruiting Weeping Silence founding member Mario Ellul on keyboards and undertook a concerted effort to revamp an extensive musical repertoire.
January 2001, guitarist Daniel Magri died after a long battle against cancer. Magri had been instrumental in much of the act's most memorable tracks, including his efforts on Neon Knights, a cover of the Black Sabbath track off Heaven And Hell, which the band contributed to Mk II Black Sabbath tribute entitled Dehumanized Witch released on 'Midwest Metal Productions' (USA.) in 2000, an album later sold at Emperor Multimedia's 'Diskery' on-line worldwide sales system.
In Feb 2002, Forsaken released of a three-track demo simply titled Demo 2002. The demo, intended solely for promotional purposes, featured a re-worked version of the perennial Where Angels Have Fallen, Via Crucis (a.k.a. The Way Of The Cross) and A Martyr's Prayer. The demo's release was aimed at showcasing the band's contemporary musical direction, which saw Forsaken entering into uncharted territory whilst consolidating their Progressive, doom metal roots.
Shortly after dispatching the demo to various labels, the band was approached by 'Golden Lake Productions' (Scotland, UK) culminating the releasing of an MCD entitled Iconoclast in December 2002 to widespread acclaim. In February 2003, the band featured in the first international doom metal festival Doom Shall Rise, held in Crialsheim Germany and featuring several seminal doom bands including Revelation (USA), Mirror Of Deception (Germany) and Reverend Bizarre (Finland). A new full-length album entitled Anima Mundi arrived on 'Golden Lake Productions' in 2004.
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