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October 29, 2012

Steff Metal Reviews: Forsaken Age – Back from Extinction

Brutal Tunes, Metal News

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 Album release party Sat Nov 3, at the Thirsty Dog

One of the side-effects of being a metal blogger is that all your mates want you to review their albums. I feel weird about it, because I’d hate to say something mean about music they’d worked so hard on, or to have people feel that I wasn’t being truthful because a band member was a mate. But, as someone pointed out to me the other day, I rarely say anything mean about music anyway, so as long as I let people know, it shouldn’t be an issue. If I were a music journalist, it might be considered a conflict of interest, but I’m a blogger, and we make up the rules as we go along. And I want to tell you about this album some awesome mates of mine are releasing this weekend:

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Forsaken Age are an Auckland-based classic metal band. Although all band members come from a variety of different musical backgrounds and taste, they are united by one mission – to celebrate metal as the ultimate way of life, and have a bloody good time doing it. Their debut album Back From Extinction has been in the works for more than a year now, and I think the result is well worth the wait.

“HMA” is the first song on the album after the intro, and it’s a testament to the band’s influences and style. A tribute to our fallen metal breathren, the song switches between an album Priest-ly chorus and a bit of an ACDC groove. Vocalist Chrissy Scarfe doesn’t attempt to impersonate any of her idols – Dio, Halford, Dickenson – instead ripping out a throaty yell that captures the aggressive, powerful nature of the music. Her vocals remind me of Battle Beast’s old vocalist Nitte Valo. With every riff, solo and drum fill, you hear metal lineage recreated, reinterpreted, and celebrated.

Metal cliches fly in every direction, especially during songs like “Pedal to the Metal”, but you only nod your head and scream, “fuck yeah!”. The riff in this song reminds me of Load-era Metallica, which sounds like in insult, but isn’t actually, as the song, and the drummer, are much better. “Lords of War” shows off the songwriting talents of Warren Davies (Guitar) and Lee Scarfe (Bass), who’ve thrown together one of the most memorable NWOBHM riffs I’ve heard in years.

Production wise, must attention has been paid to ensuring this album reflects the style with that clean, echoing sound that characterizes early releases like Iron Maiden’s Killers or Manowar’s Into Glory Ride. This is high energy, high octane music from musicians who “get it”, they’ve got the ferocity and tenacity to pull off this style, and the song-writing skills to create catchy riffs and tunes that speak to the metalhead in all of us. For me the standout tracks are definitely “1080”, with that deep, chugging riff, and the NWOBHM-inspired “Lords of War”, but I also love the Dio-esque “Running in the Dark” and “Twisted Sanity”.

Our local scene is known more for anarchistic war metal than this more traditional style, but Forsaken Age have shown on Back from Extinction that there’s room in our local scene for a little “Pedal to the Metal”, and that getting back to the roots of metal, the sound of Mercyful Fate, of Dio, of Saxon and Iron Maiden, will never, ever leave us. If you believe that Metal is a way of life and that the denim vest is a badge of honour, join Forsaken Age in their battle to bring back Classic Metal.

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Join me at the Forsaken Age Back From Extinction Album Release Party at the Thirsty Dog on K’rd on Saturday 3 November. Forsaken Age will be ripping through a set of <> metal, and they’ll be joined by thrash-metallers Hedonic, avant-garde rockers Blackleaf Gardens and 70s psychedelic rock-inspired Stone Monarch, in which my husband plays drums. $5 on the door if you get there before 9pm, $10 after. Hope to see you there.

And check out Forsaken Age on Facebook for news and upcoming shows.