Forsaken Eternity – A Kingdom of Ice Review

I like it when black metal is fun. And I know, I know, that’s not “the point” of the genre, except we’re way past the ‘90s and black metal is a whole lot cooler than it used to be. And if you don’t believe me, why not take a gander at that cover art and wilt under the crushing weight of your own doubts? Forsaken Eternity is a symphonic black metal act from the United States, and, despite having been around since 2015, A Kingdom of Ice is their debut full-length album. Here, we see a comparatively young band who plays it fast, plays it cool, and plays it pretty fun. If galloping, fun-adjacent metal is your thing, keep reading, and I’ll explain to you why it works so well here.

Forsaken Eternity are unmistakably a black metal band, but there’s enough flexibility in their style that it feels wrong to label them simply as such. That they do reasonable justice to a cover of Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Rising Force” should tell you there’s a touch of power metal at play here, and even on original tracks like “Endless Light,” we see A Kingdom of Ice as being more than comfortable with traditional and power metal influences in its riffs. On the other hand, “Sonata Concertata in Cm,” the sixth track and interlude, takes us in the opposite direction, bringing a metal style to a classical piece. Fast or slow, angry or adventurous, Forsaken Eternity are all too happy to shift a little here and there to keep things fresh. Given that the album clocks in at a mere thirty-three minutes, it’s actually remarkable how much stretching the band does in that time.

The keyboards that provide A Kingdom of Ice with its symphonic touch are fascinating in that they’re even more versatile than the aforementioned guitar stylings. In “A Dark Divinity,” they borrow directly from Æther Realm’s playbook, while on “Skywards” they make me think of early Sonata Arctica. Their omnipresence reminds strongly of Wintersun’s debut, though the album never quite loses its black metal touch. It’s far more adventurous than you might expect from the style, but that’s just how Forsaken Eternity are rolling with this one. The important thing is that it works, and you need only listen to the title track to see a band with real potential here. Furthermore, the keys keep A Kingdom of Ice firmly grounded in a sound that Forsaken Eternity undoubtedly call “theirs,” which means the album never feels stale or redundant as it moves.

So really, the only thing I don’t like all that much about A Kingdom of Ice is its production and mix. In particular, the bass and drums are usually buried or strongly compressed. I especially don’t love the snare drum sound, but the whole album seems to exist in a ‘00s-era production style that might have come off as charming if not for the fact that it’s so non-impactful. As I’ve mentioned before, this is an adventurous album, and it’s hard to imagine Forsaken Eternity didn’t have a blast writing and recording the thing, but the album certainly loses some of its energy in the master—I understand we’re going on an adventure, but I don’t feel like we’re going on an adventure. 

When an album is well-written, performed with gusto, and gets the head nodding along, you’ve already for the foundation for something cool. A Kingdom of Ice has all of that going for it, and, to me, it’s a sure sign that Forsaken Eternity are onto something here. While I do hope their next album takes a different approach in the production department, I can hardly fault them for creating a solid and enjoyable album in a style that doesn’t see much sunlight. Using only thirty-three minutes, Forsaken Eternity shows themselves to be a band worth keeping an eye on.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 319 kbps mp3
Label: Rottweiler Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 8th, 2022

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