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Practitioners of the so-called Gothenburg sound (essentially, death metal heaviness paired with melody and catchy riffs), the Forsaken followed in the footsteps of Gothenburg pioneers like At the Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquility. The group originally formed in 1997 under the name Septic Breed, with a core membership of guitarists Patrik Persson and Stefan Holm, and drummer Nicke Grabowski. They recorded a demo titled Patterns of Delusive Design, but the lineup didn't finalize until afterwards, when vocalist Anders Sjöholm (formerly of Ominous and Massgrav) and bassist Michael Håkansson (ex-Evergrey, Embraced) brought a new creative spark to the band. Thus constituted, in late summer 1999, the Forsaken recorded a three-song demo titled Reaper, which attracted intense interest from several labels, including death/black metal giant Century Media, which wound up signing the band and releasing its debut album, Manifest of Hate, in early 2001, followed by Arts of Desolation in 2002.