Blind Alley and the initial line-up, formed in September 1990, featured Leo Stivala (vocals), former Fall Out keyboardist Cay Schembri, Kevin Azzopardi (guitars), Simeon Gatt (drums) and Tony Azzopardi (bass).Forsaken, consisting of 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 ten-year existence. The band started out as progressive metallers
The band adopted the epithet Forsaken shortly after the recruitment of ex-Kremation and Vandals bassist Albert Bell in July 1991. The new line-up set about writing new material that displayed an array of influences amongst the plethora of sub-genres in the Heavy Metal scene. Forsaken's first live performance was at the Radio City Hall in Hamrun, Malta on Friday 13 September 1991, co-headlining a gig with Thrashers Manslaughter and Extremity. This gig signalled the re-generation of Malta's underground scene and saw Forsaken introducing its own brand of progressive Doom Metal to local enthusiasts.
After this satisfying live debut, the band released its first and only demo to date, entitled "Requiem". The demo was a low-budget affair recorded in three days towards the end of December 1991, with Marcel (former Beheaded vocalist) handling the production. "Requiem" received favourable reviews in a number of foreign fanzines and mags including "In My Veins" (France), "Underground Empire" (Germany), "Heavy Oder Was?" (Germany), "Slayer" (Norway) and "Doomhauled" (Canada). It also served to attract a great interest in the band, which culminated in a deal with the French underground independent label Arkham Productions.
The band released its debut 7" Ep on Arkham entitled "Virtues of Sanctity" in July 1992. The Ep featured a re-worked version of "Where Angels Have Fallen" from the "Requiem" demo and another track called "Confessing My Desolation". The Ep was released to widespread acclaim in the underground scene furthering the band's recognition with Doom Metal enthusiasts world-wide.
Prior to the Ep's release the band suffered the departure of Cay Schembri (keyboards). However, Forsaken immediately recruited Daniel Magri (ex-Manslaughter) with the intention of forwarding a stronger guitar-based, riff-oriented sound. This line-up remained stable until late 1993 when the band parted company with long-standing guitarist Kevin Azzopardi (now Orbus Vitae). As replacement Forsaken enlisted the versatile services of Sean Vukovic (Norm Rejection/Filletti & Friends).
Between 1992 and 1993, Forsaken's efforts were mainly focused on the live-front and soon the band developed as one of the Island's strongest live acts. Some of the most memorable live appearances by the band throughout this two-year period included:
Leaders, Rabat 24-4-92 with Death Metal band Segregation
"Maltasajf" Rock festival 26-9-92, St.Andrews
Birzebbuga Sailing Club, 13-8-93, with In Memoriam (now Norm Rejection)
Domus Hall, Zebbug 6-9-93 with Realida and Dilapidated(both RIP)
Rinella Rock Festival 18-12-93, Kalkara
Forsaken were also the first underground act to play at traditionally Hard-Rock Paceville venues particularly the Harlequin Rock Club and the Rock Cafe. Between February and March 1994, Forsaken embarked on a tour throughout France and Spain, playing in various cities like Grenoble, Lyon, Paris, Rennes, Lille, Barcelona and Venaros. These dates saw Forsaken 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 a dedicated horde of followers.
In May 1995 another mainstay in the band's repertoire "Moon Dancer" was recorded at Temple Studios (Malta) and was the band's first experience with the famed local producer David Vella. "Moon Dancer" highlighted the band's penchant for emotive lyrical themes and was also Forsaken's contribution to the first all-Maltese underground CD compilation "The Storm Has Begun" released on June 24th, 1995 on Storm Productions.
In February 1997 the band released its long-awaited debut CD entitled "Evermore" on Storm Records. This CD release, featuring tracks such as "Madrigal", "Season's End" and "The Healer" received favourable reviews in a number of established underground zines, including the notable Metallian Mag (France).More recently Evermore has been gaining strong reviews on several online metal-oriented sites and e-zines, including Metal-rules.com (Canada), Dark Symphonies (USA) and Eternal Frost Zine (USA). Moreover, the band has secured a number of significant distribution deals withleading underground metal distros/labels, including, Brainticket Productions (USA), Sappho Musique (France), More Hate Productions (Russia), Dark Symphonies (USA), Game Two Records (USA) and Golden Lake Productions (UK). "Evermore" highlighted Forsaken's ability to experiment with divergent soundscapes and musical directions. The CD was recorded at Temple Studios, and pressed at Prime Studios, London. These efforts landed the band with a "best-band"; nomination in the 1997 Malta Music Awards -possibly the first occasion where a local metal act received some sort of recognition at a mainstream-oriented musical event. Over the more recent months, the band bolstered its line-up by recruiting enterprising Weeping Silence founder member Mario Ellul on keyboards and undertook a concerted effort to revamp a musical repertoire, which spans various years of consistent songwriting.
On the 4th January, 2001, Daniel Magri, the band's longest serving guitarist, passed away after a long and courageous battle against Cancer. Daniel's contribution to the band was indeed outstanding. He had helped to re-orient the band's sound after his recruitment in 1992 and had been instrumental in the composition of several of Forsaken's most memorable tracks, including "Confessing My Desolation", "Sufferance", "The Healer", "Season's End" and "Rubicon". Despite his illness, Daniel was still highly active in the band, and was central in capturing the band's sound on "Neon Knights" - a cover version of the monumental Sabbath track off "Heaven and Hell", which the band contributed to a Mk II Black Sabbath trubute entitled "Dehumanised Witch" released on MidWest Metal Production (USA) in 2000. Daniel, however, will not be remembered only for his artistic ingenuity. Apart from being a highly resourceful musician, Daniel was moreover a great friend and his companionship shall leave an indelible mark on the band.
In Feb 2002 Forsaken opened a new chapter in their eventful history with the release of a three-track demo simply titled Demo 2002. The demo features a re-worked version of the perennial Where Angels Have Fallen, Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross) and A Martyr's Prayer. The demo is aimed to showcase the band's contemporary musical direction. This sees Forsaken entering into unchartered territory whilst consolidating their progressive, doom metal roots.
Shortly after despatching the demo to various labels, the band was approached by Golden Lake Productions (Scotland, UK) with a concrete offer for a new record deal. Taking into account the label's enterprising status in the UK underground metal scene and its strong and concrete interest in the band, Forsaken felt no hesitation to forge a new partnership with Golden Lake Productions. The band's record deal with Golden Lake will see the band releasing a MCD entitled "Iconoclast" toward late summer 2002. The MCD will feature four tracks that the band recorded in their recent foray at Temple Studios, Mistra Bay, Malta. The MCD's track list includes "Where Angels Have Fallen", "Via Crucis (The Way Of the Cross), "A Martyr's Prayer" and "Wither the Hour" for a total running time of 35 minutes.
Forsaken hope to accompany "Iconoclast" release with a series of gigs throughout Malta and Gozo and possibly abroad. The band is currently considering avenues in this regard and preparing an extensive live set which features new and established material. Forsaken also intend to follow-up the MCD's with a full-length album during 2003.
OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY (2003)