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Forsaken Rite – ‘The Northern Saga’ (2017)

forsaken rite the northern saga

By: Jeff
Rating: 8/10
Release: 2 June 2017
Label: Independent / Bandcamp

2015 saw the debut EP from Canada’s Forsaken Rite entitled “For The Honour Of Our Fathers” and now a follow up and first full length has been issued entitled “The Northern Saga”. The EP was very promising as far as direction, track style and performance and the full length is equally as strong. Featuring 11 tracks totaling over an hour, “The Northern Saga” does have a carryover track (“Wolves”) from the EP and mandatory epic intro (“The Departure”) so 9 new tracks if you have done your math. I think my initial comparisons to Helsott, Winterhymn and Aether Realm are still valid, with the inclusion of what sounds to be accordion (perhaps keyboard plug in?) acts like Varang Nord also could be comparable. Track lengths are in the 4-7 minute category which is where they should be for their overall vibe. There is some different things on display here from Forsaken Rite with some dirgier tracks (“Samhainn”) semi-piatey tracks (“To Forgotten Shores”) humppa-esque (“The Mead Horn”) swampy (“Murig ‘Uzgir”) and what I feel is their core sound…..symphonic folk/death metal. Although the diversity is nice, it makes it hard to figure out on some level who Forsaken Rite is. Hey, it’s a debut so now is the time to do a little bit of everything and see what feels right. I appreciate the fact that they are willing to try and are adept at doing just about anything. I think the last 3 tracks are the most successful (“Lament For The Fallen” “Wolves” and “The Hero’s Path”) as are a few of the earlier tracks as they have a synergy and most fit the epic style I think could be their eventual direction or at least what may be perceived as their sound. This is definitely a solid debut for sure. Strong performances across the board and some good ideas from a song/style perspective even if they are not as focused as they could be. The overall mix and production do seem to have a little bit of a fogginess to it which hurts the album as not being as razor sharp as it could be…..drums are very timid and the overall attack of the instrumentation is subdued. Even with some missteps, “The Northern Saga” is definitely worth checking out as it has some solid songs, strong performances and catchy tracks. Another epic album from north of the border.

Tracklist
01. The Departure 04:33
02. Painted in Woad 04:41
03. Disciples of Steel 04:45 
04. Rhiannon’s Hymn 04:17
05. Samhainn 07:20
06. To Forgotten Shores 06:04
07. The Mead Horn 05:18
08. Murig ‘Uzgir 04:42
09. Lament for the Fallen 05:38
10. Wolves 05:53
11. The Hero’s Path 07:13

Front Row Status

What do you get when you mix modern day heavy metal, Viking Gods, and possibly a hint of Zelda charm? 

      Edmonton’s Forsaken Rite, of course. 

      Forming in October of 2012, after many line-ups coming and going, the band has finally settled down with the right musicians to create the musical storytelling they’re known for. Don’t mistake them for fairy tales, though. Approaching the stage like Celtic Gods and Goddesses, they are just as heavy as any other heavy metal band. 

      “I’ve always really enjoyed folk metal. It’s truly a unique genre that gives you this sense of awe and pride in your ancestry”, says lead vocalist, Archon. “I don’t think there is a single member of Forsaken Rite that does not have some passion on the topics of history, mythology, fantasy, or even the more Pagan/occult areas of religion. This is something we emulate into both our music and appearance”.

      And I don’t know how else you could describe Forsaken Rite better. This is a heavy metal band keeping to its roots - badass flute and all. With Archon on vocals (who primarily was advertising himself as a guitarist and backing vocalist), you also have Eskaton on guitar, Fingall on bass guitar, Eiveen on flute, Sevi on the keyboard, and Adaria on drums.

      “Folk metal just isn’t something that you see around here, outside of parts of Europe, we tend to be a bit of a rarity,” says Archon. “Our flutist and keyboardist were definitely a boon for us. Both have very different backgrounds (mainly classical) and this was quite a new thing for both of them to try”.

      But the combination works so well for the band. Based off of their social media websites alone, they already have quite a following. Whether you get it or not, just by watching live performances (even online!), you can’t help but feel the energy, onstage and off. Heavy metal fans seem to be responding well to not just Forsaken Rite but folk metal in general.

      “I’ve noticed that the average show in Edmonton has become a lot less stagnant than in the past. There is much more variety now. Before, there used to be a very prominent idea that a show had to be centralized around a single genre and deviating from that would be detrimental. Now, it seems that promoters and venue owners alike are more than happy, if not more interested, in booking shows that have bands from several different sub-genres in the metal community”.

      It is this perspective on music, especially heavy metal with all of its sub-genres, that I whole-heartedly encourage to music promoters and venue owners, especially in Canada. But it’s not just them! Archon mentions his gratitude of the support of fans and the metal community alike. “It’s amazing how fast your name and work can spread just because people who enjoy what you do are happy and willing to throw it around”. 

      High-five Edmonton!

      So what can fans for Forsaken Rite expect to see in 2016? Nothing is “set in stone” as  of yet but the band is keeping their eyes on a few music festivals for this summer. As for a full-length album? 

      “All I can say for the moment is that we are currently in the process of writing new material for it. Though the idea of it being released this year may be a bit of a stretch, I certainly won’t eliminate it as a possibility”.

      Archon also mentions that for this first, full-length record, everything will most likely be recorded in a professional studio as opposed to their EP (though still significantly well done) which was recorded mainly in his very own, at-home studio.  With more resources at their disposal, the heavy metal community can have high hopes for this album.

      Catch Archon and the rest of Forsaken Rite on March 12th, 2016 at The Rendezvous Pub, Edmonton. This show is a fundraiser for the St. Paul Animal Shelter and as “avid animal enthusiasts”, the band highly recommends everyone to come and check it out, all for a great cause! 

      See, even heavy metal Celtic Gods(esses) have soft spots too.