without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I must be honest, I was disappointed to hear that they were going to release a new album. After the failure called 'Under Saturn Retrograde' I wasn't expecting anything good from them, so I didn't want to see them fail again. Although the name of the album sounded promising and the cover art did the same, I was thinking I would hear something very very bad until the moment I listened to this album. Well, I love surprises, when they are good. When the first track, 'Deprived' started, I thought it was someway better than the tracks from their previous release, but not what I needed. But when the second half of the song started, I was shocked. The guitar riffs were so epic that I couldn't believe this. My faith for this band was restored instantly.
The main problem in Under Saturn Retrograde was that the most songs sounded positively. Here everything is better. While listening, I feel like I'm alone in the cold dark room, which is full of syringes and empty alcohol bottles. Pure atmosphere of negativity, which is expected from any black/doom metal band. Guitar riffs became more sick, especially in the track '...and Don't Deliver Us from Evil'. Intro and outro here are so sick that it makes me want to cut myself. Also, talking about guitar riffs I should highlight the ending of the tracks 'Cold Summer' and 'Love Me Like You'd Love the Death'. Endings here bear a doom metal atmosphere, which makes everything even better.
The vocals have changed to. It became more angry and more sick, which fits perfectly in the music. I just can't think of better vocals than this. Here are less clean vocals, which isn't big loss, cause they aren't really needed everywhere. The only track here, which is with clean vocals is 'Adrift'. This is my favorite track in this album as well. Clean vocal here does really good job, improves everything and fits greatly in the atmosphere. Drumming also became faster and sicker. I must say few words about lyrics too. they are full of cynicism. This improves already 'great' state of the songs.
With this album they seem to reach the new level. I can say that this is their best album up to date, even better than Springtime Depression. I hope they'll continue this way, because, in my opinion, they are most promising black/doom metal band. I don't know why people continuously compare Forgotten Tomb with Shining. Maybe they have some similarities, but they are in different dimensions and Forgotten Tomb is the strongest one in it's dimension.
Although Forgotten Tomb have never strayed from their fixation on depression, self-harm and the darker side of human nature, at some point they underwent a change in style. Gone was the strictly depressive black metal sound, with its melodic, ‘pretty-sounding’ guitars and tortured howls. In its place has come something more tempered, and therefore more digestible to the metal crowd at large. Although this added focus on structure and more typical rock-based elements shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of Forgotten Tomb by this point, I cannot help but mention that this style-shift continues to disappoint when compared to the emotionally devastating stuff they released earlier on in their career. With that being said however, “...And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil” is no pushover; it is a well-composed and produced black metal record with a few great moments to boot. Although Forgotten Tomb’s latest release doesn’t tend to sway my opinion concerning this change in sound, it’s a worthy companion for anyone feeling the strain of the dark winter months.
Although I prefer the days of “Songs to Leave” and “Springtime Depression”, Forgotten Tomb have in many ways improved their act. For one, their style has been fleshed out to incorporate elements outside of the typically narrow depressive black metal mainstay; gothic rock, doom metal and even a mild progressive have found their way into the mixing bowl. Add to that a fine production standard and one of the more memorable album covers of the year, and it’s clear that Forgotten Tomb have realized their potential as their execution goes. Although the music tends to rely on simple riffs and chord progressions, there is often a solid arrangement and layering to the music. Acoustics and clean guitars are often used in tandem with the metal tones, and as always, there are great lead melodies to enjoy. Forgotten Tomb tend to stick close to comfort when it comes to sounds and instruments used; although the occasional acoustic break offers a welcome respite from the gloom, there are few surprises to behold throughout the album. Forgotten Tomb rarely stray from the main course, but fortunately, they have a remarkably meaty sound as black metal goes. The guitar tones- however tired as they feel by the end of the album- enjoy a nice richness to them, and the bass end of the mix is given a pleasant boost; it’s not often where the bass guitar is audibly heard on a black metal record!
Although the songwriting is solid, the compositionship on “...And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil” suffers the same pitfall as their performance; it feels generally anaesthetic, too clean to get across the same sense of grief they once conveyed so powerfully on early albums. Greater an issue still is not the fact that they have evolved their sound, but where they took it. Although the melancholic, gothic doom/black hybrid sounds great and promising on paper, Forgotten Tomb suffer from a painful case of follow-the-leader here; that is, they sound as if they are following the examples of a few other bands, rather than forging a clear path of their own. Being influenced is one thing, but the incarnation of black metal Forgotten Tomb have conjured here sounds as if they’re trying to copycat the Swedish Shining. Although I will say that their take on the sound certainly rivals what Shining have done this year, it feels futile to have taken so many steps to develop their sound, only to seemingly emulate someone else. Closer still is the pitch-perfect resemblance to fellow Italian doomsters Novembre when the gloomy clean vocals are brought out on “Adrift”. Forgotten Tomb perform these styles well, but at the end of the day, the derivative approach doesn’t make so great of a lasting impact.
“...And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil” is a good album, but in fairness, I would have hoped to hear something with more of a unique identity than what they’ve done here. There are some great musical ideas and melodies throughout the album, but perhaps not enough to entirely excuse the lack of originality. The dark atmosphere has survived Forgotten Tomb’s translation to the cleancut end of the depressive black metal medium, but they’re not taking it as far as they once did.
Though they’ve been steadily gaining steam in the Italian scene since the turn of the century, …and Don’t Deliver Us from Evil is my first exposure to this odd musical conglomeration. I gather that once upon a time Forgotten Tomb were rooted in the more basic aesthetics of black metal, but that tendency seems to have shifted, along with the years, into a weighty mish-mash of melodic black, death, and doom, having as much in common with the hefty, sweeping sorrow of Insomnium as the icy winds of Dissection, when all is said and done. There are also numerous sections that feel spiritually linked to NWOBHM, lending fitting comparisons to the newer work from groups like Satyricon or Darkthrone. So, though the album maintains a consistently overcast tone for its near 53 minute running time, there is a lot of variety in the methods of delivery innate to each track, which does a lot to keep one’s attention, an important caveat when considering the track lengths are universally quite long (6 to 9 minutes).
These myriad styles are integrated nicely throughout, playing on their unique strengths at different times, but basting whichever is most prominent with drippings from the others. For example, even when the band are brooding out in doom mode, one can hear the blackened tendencies shining through in the riffing style, and so forth. This lends a stylistic cohesion to the pieces, even though they tend to shift focus many times throughout. Many will see this as an inability to pick a style and stick with it, but I feel as though they pulled off this complex aesthetic marriage quite well, even if some selections were more successful than others. A big part of this is also the production, which hoists the main-sail bass lines up through the misty riffing to act as a bulbous, nocturnal beacon the other instruments can build off of. It’s one of the better bass tones I’ve heard this year, actually, and bears particular mention for how satisfying a sound like this can be. In fact, every tone here feels great, from the frosty sheen of the dual-guitar layers to the punchy, crisp drumming. The venomous vocals of Ferdinando Marchisio, though not displaying anything one could consider new to the style, work well in whatever musical context he accompanies. His full-bodied, spiteful rasp lends a satisfying reptilian anger to the blackened rocking. The riffing itself, while not always grabbing me by the balls, must be lauded for carrying these various styles simultaneously without so much as a stumble, and sometimes carry an addictive black n’ roll quality, like in the excellent Let’s Torture Each Other. Another favorite is the gloomy Adrift, with its vibrant, melancholy melodies and defeated clean choruses, imparting a bittersweet aura of stormy sadness that I find quite delectable.
I like what Forgotten Tomb have going here, if slightly more in overall stylistic tendency than actual compositional delivery. Though there is a wide selection of strong material here, only the rare moment had me truly excited, or cried out for immediate repetition. Nevertheless, its unflinching solidity should ingratiate …and Don’t Deliver Us from Evil to a good variety of metalheads, and I’d recommend anybody interested in its constituent genres to give them a listen. Be your poison black, doom, or even rainy, majestic melodeath, there’s a little something here for everybody. It doesn’t attempt to redefine these distinct flavors, but rarely are experiments concerning infusion of all three successful, or even prevalent, so I’m sure they’ll find a fan base for this. And though I can’t say Forgotten Tomb have fully enraptured me with their latest offering, I’m just enamored enough to be genuinely curious to see what they can do from here, and perhaps explore their back catalogue, if I can someday find the time. Beyond any perceived faults here, though, it should be telling that I’m still rather curious about this record, and feel like there is a bit more to be gleaned from its sorrowful depths, and so it won’t leave my rotation just yet, a huge compliment given the huge number of quality releases currently demanding my attention. Indeed, if you do pick it up, give it a few listens to sink its hooks in, as an album this dense only reveals its true self after a couple exposures.
To reiterate, I’d like to see a follow up to this, perhaps going even further with the melodic death and/or raw rocking sections, which I felt were the more interesting elements by a mile. When Forgotten Tomb focus in on sad, blazing melodies, they transcend and outshine the rest of their material, and though this may betray the blackened roots they cling to, this is the part of Forgotten Tomb I loved. But that’s the strength here, I suppose, an ability to cater to different palettes, and a more focused experience might destroy that balance. So, what can we expect from here? I don’t know, and even though this experience has come a bit shy of perfection for me, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued.
-Left Hand of Dog
The first thing I should mention is that the track listing is off from the official album by a tad bit, “Nullifying Tomorrow “ is really supposed to be the seventh track of the album moving the other tracks higher in hierarchy. It’s the way it is because that’s the order they were given to me so to avoid confusion I kept it the way I listened to it initially. In a way it was a neat coincidence as “Nullifying Tomorrow” is the only track that sounded like a full-blown black metal song following the style of modern black metal rather than traditional. “Deprived” had a more sludgy edge to it with the bass being very prominent making it a catchy song. The title track, “…And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil…” is the beginning where we see the fusion of doom and black metal focusing on melodies that give melodic death metal bands a run for their money. Just like Iron Maiden being so intricate and beautiful about their melodies, Forgotten Tomb is just as masterful as these legendary heavy metal brits.
I’m from Texas and sometimes the weather can be bipolar. One day it can be cold and another very warm, abnormal for a particular season and in some cases it can be a cold windy chilly sensation going down your spine and next thing you know the sun comes out grazing down your neck. Well I think it’s a great transition into the song, “Cold Summer” as it was the only one in the line-up without a blatant melody. It still had melody but it was all in the black metal riffs, it was the closest to traditional black metal as it gets but still with doom in its roots it sounded unique and foreboding. “Let’s Torture Each Other” is the only song I recall having a guitar solo, it started off really slow but melodic, turned my brain into a cloud free-floating about and then it alternated into an average solo.
By the time, “Love Me Like You’d Love The Death” came around I was slowly falling asleep. Don’t take that the wrong way I mean the sound was so soothing it felt like a lullaby just as a child would fall asleep to a song calmly relaxing their brain or maybe because I‘m listening to this about an hour after midnight, who knows. What brought me back to a conscious level is the wonderful melody towards the end They really are that overpowering that it’s almost impossible to miss. “Adrift” is the only song to feature clean singing in the album, kind of odd when I’m used to hearing screams somewhat reminiscent to Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) and also blackish vocals slightly in the same vein as Abbath (Immortal).
Algol’s bass playing is what really set the bar in this album. All the musicians were nice but without him I don’t think this album would’ve been the same. Not in the prospect of talent but rather it contributed so well on the album it’s almost as if he was the main sculptor. This is my first Forgotten Tomb album I've heard but I’m really excited to go back to their discography and hear how this band evolved from the past to what it became now.
Originally written for http://www.metal-temple.com/
Italy’s Forgotten Tomb has been delivering their depressive art since their formation in 1999, and this year sees the band’s sixth full length release, …And Don’t Deliver Us from Evil. Despite this unfortunately being my first exposure to Forgotten Tomb, seeing the band’s record of releasing high quality albums got me rather excited with …And Don’t Deliver Us from Evil, not knowing what to really expect from these Italians.
The doomy goodness begins from the get go with Deprived, with the groovy riffs being one of the most charming aspects of the music that will be on …And Don’t Deliver Us from Evil. This is gonna be a pretty refreshing and interesting ride indeed, with the perfect fusion between the doom and black metal elements of the band. With Forgotten Tomb principally being a black metal band, the black metal aesthetics are pretty clear, at times almost leaning towards a somewhat melancholic/depressive black metal side what with the tortured vocals of band mastermind Herr Morbid. Furthermore, the calmer segments, complete with acoustic guitars and a haunting melody at times brings about some similarities to the post-black metal of bands like Alcest with the atmosphere of the music, though there is a more ballsy edge over here. That said, for the most part, this is some rather catchy and infectious black metal.
Forgotten Tomb‘s experience at creating this particular form of art is also evident, with the seamless fusion of elements of various genres on the record. Unlike many other bands that have attempted similar styles, what Forgotten Tomb has done over here is to ensure that each of the individual styles complement the others on the album. For example, the doom metal aspects at times help to ensure that the atmosphere is constantly kept heavy, while the black metal elements bring out the bleakness and desperation, resulting in an extremely dark record.
While the tracks on the album tend to be rather long, with most going in excess of the 7 minute mark, the material here keeps the listener completely enchanted, with the tracks allowing for the emotions of the band to be slowly and completely experienced and absorbed by the listener. Long doesn’t mean boring though, as the band can get pretty fucking catchy as well, with songs like Let’s Torture Each Other and Love Me Like You’d Love the Death being some of the personal favourites with the morbid overtone.
When an established black metal band is looking to expand its range of influences, and thus diversify its style, it takes a path strewn with obstacles. Black metal fans’ narrow conservatism do not forgive easily any perceived sprains to orthodoxy. However, ignoring these assumptions, Forgotten Tomb began its transformation in recent years. Once among subgenus suicidal / depressive leaders, members of this Italian quartet are now practicing a more accessible music, which less encourages (hmm) to hang or swallow razor blades.
This change is fully assumed since Under Saturn Retrograde, with doom metal and rock sounds integration. The album was released last year but I was not really convinced then. I perceived some fumbling and hesitation, with songs that lacked bite. An error that has fortunately not been repeated on … And Don ‘t Deliver Us From Evil.
I do not know if Herr Morbid (founder and leader of the group) is trying to prove something, but he chooses to hit hard right from the start with Deprived. Its rhythm instinctively recalls some classic German thrash metal, with a fat guitar and a slammed bass. However, several sound elements scattered over this great song are reminiscent of the band’s stylistic origins, fulfilling what could have been a mere pastiche. But it is the title track which is, in my humble opinion, album‘s highlight. Perfectly balancing the musical past and present of the band, it offers a fast and heavy synthesis, with a great and scary atmosphere.
Rest of the album was somewhat less successful. Cold Summer is too long and breaks momentum created by the first two pieces, and any of the following songs fails to rise to the level of intensity obtained at the start. Well, not entirely: very good parts are found in Let’s Torture Each Other with its very catchy rock riffs and Adrift with its clean vocals and epic soaring.
Finally … And Don ‘t Deliver Us From Evil is somehow a victim of its flying start. Songs that follow the title track are not bad, but do not reach the same quality level and somehow give a feeling of breathlessness. However, this new album is still much stronger than its predecessor and suggests that members of Forgotten Tomb finally found their bearings and completed their metamorphosis. 7/10
Originally written for Métal Obscur.
Forgotten Tomb was a band I had heavily in rotation through the earlier years of the new millennium, a spectacle of grisly sadness that, from Songs to Leave (2002) through Love's Burial Ground (2004). Somber architecture threaded with suicidal hostility, they were by far one of the most promising black metal exports out of Europe in this period. And then came the inevitable progression phase, through albums Negative Megalomania and Under Saturn Retrograde, and though I certainly couldn't fault the Italians for trying something new, my own interest in the output had begun to wane. ...And Don't Deliver Us From Evil feels, to some extent, like 'damage control'. It's got a slightly more modern feel to it than, say, Springtime Depression, but a lot of that fell majesty of the old Forgotten Tomb creeps in here, albeit lavished in the brighter polish of the new production.
I think the 'atmospheric black/doom' tag still fits really well here, for while the vocals and riffing sequences often fall on the former side of the equation, there are plenty of slower grooving chord rhythm in tracks like "Deprived" (which had its own EP earlier in the year) that tether off the more cutting, higher pitched melody. The drums have a lot of variation, from the steady beats that moor the mid-paced, Katatonia-like rock out patterns (an in opener "Nullifying Tomorrow"), to the muscular double-bass batteries. Vocals are entirely over the top, gruesome and robust rasps that, along with the slice of the upper register guitars, really drench the rhythm section in sheer agony. Herr Morbid sounds much the same as he always did, only the inflection is more full-bodied and totally audible alongside the instruments. The bass is also a strong point to this, with a lot of curving, interesting grooves that support the guitars without often cloning them; in part responsible for giving the Italians' music that massive, progressive subtext you'll recognize from other groups like Opeth. There are also some Gothic-tinged, deeper melodic vocal harmonies (as in "Adrift") and clean guitars that shine in contrast to the heavier moments, without being particularly memorable in of themselves.
The longer, meandering songs are pretty much the status quo for Forgotten Tomb, but here they are reined in usually around 8-9 minutes, briefer than some of the swollen, depressive behemoths they penned back in their prime. The mix is in general quite bright, you can hear everything perfectly, like most modern black metal albums that have a budget and aren't afraid to sound like it. I occasionally got enveloped by a few of the dreamier, glorious guitar melodies throughout the 54 minutes, but didn't find most of the drudging rhythm guitar progressions all that exciting, despite the nice dichotomy they create against the airier flights of eloquent suffering. That said, there are certain exceptions, and tunes like "Let's Torture Each Other" reminded me of why I loved the groovier, simple black metal strategists like Finland's Ajattara or the older Darkthrone records, even if the packaging is prettier here. All told, ...And Don't Deliver Us From Evil is pretty damn solid, better at least than Under Saturn Retrograde, and it was great to experience those old sounds I so enjoyed from the first few records. If you're into vast, tragic swaths of sound crowned with melody and grandeur, check it out.