I live in a very small country. Most people outside Europe (especially those in the United States) have no idea where The Netherlands are. If I told them it's next to Yemen they'd believe me easily, just like they would if I told them the Netherlands are in fact the capital of Copenhagen (a popular misconception). It can be frustrating at times.

Matters must be much worse for people who live in Malta. If the Netherlands are but a dot on the world map, Malta is but a speck of dust on such a dot. A single unruly wave, one is tempted to believe, would erase the island from the Mediterranean map altogether.

It's good to know that such a small island manages to yield Forsaken, a doom metal band that's already been around for 10 years. Their debut MCD, "Iconoclast", contains four semi-long-spun tracks that combine haunting melodies with some genuinely good (if restrained) guitar work. Forsaken's music can be compared to Serenity, which goes for the thoughtful doom atmosphere as well as the flavour of vocalist. Indeed, like Daniel Savage, vocalist Leo Stivala is probably not to everyone's taste.

Highlight on the album is "Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross)", which has some very nice melodies and some good guitar work, especially in the solo (with some cool sweeping here and there). The other tracks provide similar listenting joy, though, so you could do a whole lot worse than checking this out.



Written May 2003


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