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Forgotten Tomb's third album, Love's Burial Ground, is a bleak monument to fatalistic negativism. The desolate emotions and haunting despair of past releases expressed now with increased bitterness and more horrific violence towards the self as well as all proponents of a happy existence, perceived as a cruel illusion pacifying humanity into a denial of a terrible reality. By an antisocial rejection of normalized social life, Forgotten Tomb celebrate all that instills fear and dread within ordinary human minds. Their music conjures the darkness of profound emotional suffering, and embraces the cold silence of inner emptiness. This album is an exhausting surrender to ultimate death and a vehement opposition to the smiling dreams of optimistic existence.
Three dark electronic interludes by Mr. Nordvargr of black industrialists MZ412, have been strategically implemented to enhance the overriding delirious atmosphere of crippling anguish and mortal fear. "Malus Vivendi" Pt. I, II, & III have been placed at the beginning, middle, and end of the disc, a tactic that effectively exploits the mood of the listener through the experience. These pieces work slow, faint, pulsing beats, electronic noise, and haunting ambience to establish a mood of discomfort and apprehension. The metal songs are colder and more hostile than past albums, maintaining their trademark suicidal hopelessness through an effective arrangements of sorrowful lead guitar melodies, as in the fading moments of the title track, and the painful lament of "Alone", which exquisitely fuses tormented vocal desperation with mournful guitar atmospherics similar to Katatonia's Dance Of December Souls, yet with the minimalist philosophy of structure the Swedes would not formulate until Brave Murder Day. Vocals are sick, black, corrosive howls of aching grief and spitting venom, delivered with a tortured emotion that ordinary ears find bewildering and cowardly dismiss as melodramatic adolescent posturing. After all, who could possibly feel such hatred and despair towards the gift of life? The very idea seems an eternally perplexing one to those happy champions of the game of entitled happiness whom Forgotten Tomb misanthropically scorn.
"Searching for a way out
In my eyes you see
The horror of being alive"
Some will question the authenticity of these suicidal expressions. Indeed, it is very common to hear such questions as "Why not just kill yourself and be done with it if you are so miserable? What sense is it to whine to the world about your suffering when the door to the other side is waiting there for you?" Such a response to these morbid laments, besides portraying a baffling lack of clarity and understanding towards the condition of existential torment and its conflicts with the will to live, grossly misses the very point of this music. The basic nature of the process of artistic creation requires an immersion of the self motivated by unwavering and determined passion, even if it is just enough to put one's self through the suffering for the sake of communicating a torturing agony. That this work was seen through to its completion given the grim and desolate state of emotion expressed through it should alone suggest that suicide has not so firmly possessed the ambitions of its creators to the extent that all endeavors in life have lost their value. There is more to suffering than desperation for a way out. In the case of Forgotten Tomb there is the will to create, an expressive validation of experiencing the torment.
In their hateful sorrow, Forgotten Tomb seek to exterminate all sources of vibrancy towards life to move ever closer to a total and complete darkness of the soul in preparation for ultimate death. Any sign of hope for a better life is vanquished in these songs of self‑entombment and frozen apathy. There is a piercing determination expressed within this music to leave this world in a state of cold detachment, a state reached through the process of growing dead within to surrounding life‑forces of the world. Love's Burial Ground is an unforgiving and gloomy work of blackened doom metal possessed with woeful dejection and bleeding hatred for the scourge of life.
Ambience...from the crypts below, echo into the night, as armageddon's theme song rises quickly with the tide. You look around in terror and fright, but cannot locate the source of the terrifying sound. You then look below, only to see that there are several large cracks in the floor. Inside the cracks, you can see nothing but pitch black eternity. You then gasp in horror as you see that the light in the room has been left on, meaning that the cracks in the floor are the source of both the blackness which seems to tighten it's grip around your neck with each passing minute, as well as the source of the terrifying "music" which seems to be orchestrated by Baphomet himself. Then, all sound ceases as a sole guitar takes the stage, playing a mournful, despair-filled song of hopeless eternal dark. You shed a tear, only to see Amducias himself rise from eternity with a group of demons performing what sounds to be earthly, human instruments. Then, out of the seemingly eternal blackness, comes a light from the void, the light approaches faster, faster, and then consumes your very being and existance... You awaken as your head collides with the bathroom floor. You've fallen asleep while shitting again...tisk, tisk. Now, the memories of your creepy but intriguing dream are beginning to fade into the ever widening abyss of your mind, and you soon forget about the dream and go on with your life.
This, rather cliche story, almost (almost...), describes the feelings I conjured up during my time listening to Forgotten Tomb's "Love's Burial Ground". I will not deny Forgotten Tomb what they deserve the most, that being that this album truly brings to light an emotion rarely seen in the neverending void we call "music", and that ever elusive emotion is sheer terror. Of course, the music at work here is little in comparison to many dark ambient artists, or even many black metal artists who perform more 'ambient' styled work. And, I suppose, I can applaud the members of this band for this as well. Despite utilizing an extremly dark, and at times, very disturbing atmosphere, there is little on this album which could be described as "over the top" or "campy", as many pseudo-intellectuals like to perceive music they lack the ability to truly comprehend to be. Of course, it is still very far from being truly great, although it no doubt comes close.
In this aspect, Forgotten Tomb have little to display. For one, overall technical skill is at an all-time low, and the members of the band stick to what they do best for the entire album, with little to no experimentation. Typically, one guitar plays an eerie, clean guitar melody as the other guitar chugs softly in the background, creating an unmistakeable "doom" atmosphere. As it happens, elements of black metal appear as well, with tremelo picking and blast beats appearing in several tracks (ex: "Kill Life"), as well as in the vocal style, which remains in the same flesh-starved shriek for the entire release. As well, some tracks utilize melodic, beautiful lead-work (ex: "Slaves to Negativity"), while others stick to the more basic elements of black and doom metal, fusing the the eerie, evil atmosphere and shreiked vocal style with the heavier, deeper and more hopeless chugging backing it up (ex: "House of Nostalgia"), thus not creating anything new (although still entertaining). The riff-work has it's stong points (ex: 4:53 of "Alone"), and often lifts the songs up to new heights beyond your standard black or doom metal fare. Certain tracks contain a rather clear influence from "post-metal", for instance, Agalloch, namely track three ("Alone").
However, the lower, less impressive aspects are still there. The majority of the albums plods along at the same pace with little variation throughout the tracks. Of course, every now and then, a track will pick itself up from it's slumber and proceed in a faster, more energetic form (ex: "House of Nostalgia"), although these parts are few and far between in comparison to the album as a whole, which often keeps it's pace throughout. Of course, the drumming is boring and rather featureless, with the sole truly interesting aspect about it being the pummeling bass drums it utilizes at times, and even there, there is very little I can say but, "Whoa, that's pretty loud for black metal!". On more occassions than I would like to admit on this recording, potentially good riffs are ruined by his terrible drumming ("Forgotten Tomb MMIII"). Of course, he plays on time, but what he plays is simply very stupid. It's also not that he experiments too much and tries too hard to impress (like Brann Dailor of Mastodon), it's that he doesn't do anything which could even remotly inspire anyone in any way, shape or form. The same can be said for the bassist, although that is more understandable, as neither black or doom metal are known for being very nice to bassists.
As previously stated, however, the chief element at play here is the unmistakeable atmosphere, which is a fusion of the dark and disturbing atmosphere of black metal, as well as the hopeless and misanthropic atmosphere of doom metal. At times, both genres are used separatly (ex: "Forgotten Tomb MMIII") though most of the record keeps elements from both fused together. It works wonders in tracks such as "House of Nostalgia" or "Slave to Negativity", as the black metal sections and black/doom sections, in a manner of speaking, work together to grasp an atmosphere which, while cliche, takes the "best from both worlds". Tracks such as "House of Nostalgia" and "Alone" help out in the atmosphere department, while "Forgotten Tomb MMIII" and "Slaves to Negativity" work more in the riff department. It's an interesting way to structure your songs, although with this utilized, there is a general lack of consistancy one could point out, although that isn't necessarily the case here.
The guitar tone is one of the more clear tones I've heard in black metal. It lacks the fuzziness and instead relies on raw heaviness. The tone, however, works just as well for lower, more brutal moments (ex: "House of Nostalgia") as it does for higher pitched, more eerie riffs (ex: "Kill Life"). The bass can be heard clearly enough, and drums are relativly well produced, with all the drums equally clear, with the bass drum getting a slight bias. Unfortunatly, the vocals have been raped, and sound more like static than inhuman screams as I would prefer. For whatever reason, the vocalist reminds me of the vocal style used on At the Gates's cover of "The Nightmare Continues", from the At the Gates album "With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness". It's fairly hard to articulate exactly what is going on, although you can get a general glimpse of the fact that he is doing "black metal vocals".
It appears to me that Forgotten Tomb have the atmosphere down (the most prominent aspect of this album), they just need to improve a bit in the musical department. The lack of variety or technical skill does grate on one's nerves, although there are plenty of well-written aspects of this recording to give it a relativly high replay value. Of course, I prefer the earlier material, but this is certainly a solid record which is worth anyone's time, if they enjoy black metal, and to a lesser extent, doom metal.
Highlight track(s): "Alone", "House of Nostalgia", "Forgotten Tomb MMIII".
I get nothing but deep, dark vibes from this album; gloom, despair, depression, and everything the Swedish black metal band Shining strives to be is met with this release (without going over-the-top with the “I’ll cut myself! I’m totally serial” deal). The original cover art is pretty controversial in itself, with a little girl putting a gun in her mouth – I wonder who else copied that idea for their cover art? I prefer the alternate artwork because it looks more surreal and comforting rather than blatantly notorious, but whatever. Hmm… anyway, I get nothing but black and white vibes from this album; it’s incredibly atmospheric without ditching its clear production values; the journey is dreamy, but polished at the same time.
This band caught my attention with their song “Alone,” which became the center of attention on the Metal Archives forum in the Flittering thread. A sample was used for the non-existent Flittering track, which just so happened to be rough ambiance with the melodic section from “Alone” subdued in the back. While it buried any notion that Flittering was indeed not a real band, my ears were hooked on the song itself. It was so beautiful, melancholic, heartbreaking, and full of emotions running wild in all directions. It was rupturing black metal with a doomy predisposition that had a very innocent style with a mysterious secret. The track itself stands out on the album with more harmonized riffs than the others; they float through the song like a ghost in an orchard, existing but lifeless. The production values were fantastic, but not modernized beyond all hell like many bands tend to think makes up for a lacking album. The riffs themselves reverberate wonderfully with fervency in this respect, and the mixing was mastered perfectly to reciprocate a balance between what would be conflicting ideas on another album. The combination of soothing bass lines, shrieky vocals, and catchy drum rhythms help transcend this song from twelve minutes of awesome music to twelve minutes of momentous bliss – an unattained feeling never felt unless heard by this one track.
Acoustics and clean guitar lines help dab emotional touches into the songs, but the harmonized riffs (a trait I’ve seen with many doom metal bands) really nails the right stuff down. Piano sections help me picture a very dark scene of a traditional 19th century family – ridden with grief and internal strife. The tone is ominous and solitary, but heavy and filling – bass is at a respectable grumbling level while the drumming helps you never forget that it’s really a part of the music. It does have that Shining vibe, but this band really does it better and the vocals are a totally different story. They’re ear-piercing shrieks that make me even gulp; very scary, throaty, and sound as if they’d hurt if I tried to pull them off.
Love’s Burial Ground is a slow moving album with slight variations here and there. The theme is pure death and longing, which no doubt will be felt throughout the album. It puts you in a transcending state of mind for a little bit, peaking too early with the track “Alone.” The beginning, middle, and ending of the album are part of the same instrumental trilogy which just add more to the atmosphere, painting a very bleak world that the album helps to thrust you into. They’re all soundscape pieces, but you’ll be delightfully quivering in fright all the same. To me, they give you a very short glimpse of what life / lifelessness was like two hundred years ago – very mysterious, black / white, and depressing.
Overall, there isn’t too much variety, and the pace of the album might bore a good host of listeners. Its adequate to keep me entertained, but I will admit that there are times where this album drags on… maybe even enough to warrant a diagnosis of the ”Genesis To Genocide” Syndrome. Regardless, its still a great work that captures a theme and focuses all its attention into making the experience one you won’t soon forget.
The first two albums by this band were undoubtedly magnificent examples of how depressive black metal should be done. Don’t forget that Songs To Leave was one of the very first examples of this genre because the songs were written in 2000, but published just two years after. Anyway, I always loved the Forgotten Tomb’s music style and their approach to the negativism of life and people. Their will was to pervert and shock the audience through their music and less through their image and that’s a thing to appreciate a lot.
Love’s Burial Ground is the third sick seal by the band that this time has returned to Italy to record it (Springtime Depression was recorded at the Abyss Studios in Sweden). The production is a way between the first two albums because the instruments are less fuzzy, especially the drums, but the power of the volumes this time is more exalted without being so devastating like in the previous effort. All the instruments are very clear and I love it because I can’t stand the too fuzzy production for this genre. Forgotten Tomb can be sick and disturbing also with a clear and professional production.
This album also marks some changes in their songwriting and we can hear them very well. This time Herr Morbid has a brand new line up that would have continued also with the following Negative Megalomania. Maybe these changes influenced the music. But don’t worry; it’s always the same negative and misanthropic stuff. The intros “Malus Vivendi I-II” are something new for the band even if they don’t show anything particular, being strange and dark noises as preludes to the real songs. “Kill Life” is a goodish opener but far from the past compositions in the albums before. It has always the classic elements by this band but the up tempo parts are too cold and not in a good, depressive way while the arpeggios and the sudden down tempo are not so convincible like in the past, showing a lack inspiration.
The good or even great things come with the superb “Alone”. A masterpiece of sickness in music. The burden of grief and pain of this song is something Forgotten Tomb never did before, except for “Disheartened” song on the first album. The screams are full of pain and anger for an abandon and the guitars are always on slow marches, reaching the climax in two parts where the sounds are epic and internally devastating at the same time. The loss, the desperation are drowned in music and the lead guitars show no remorse for a shattered life, full of illusion, fast washed away. The dying heart has the sound of the slow drums and speaks through the voice of Herr Morbid.
Furthermore, to follow the step of the nostalgia and pain we find “House of Nostalgia”. This track is the second excellent one in a row of this album. The two greatest songs all together. The piano sound at the beginning is another new element by Herr Morbid and Co. It fits perfectly the music and when the guitars enter, the clean arpeggios follow the same notes. The tempo is again slow and massive as a black stone, a vision of a dark soul at night. The vocals run after each other in a continued growing and fading that binds them together. The acoustic parts where the arpeggios are the main sounds are full of gloomy screams but with the “refrain” we return to the pinnacle.
The title track has again the defect of lacking of depressive mood either during the fast parts, or during the slower. The darkness in these tracks is always present but it’s not “depression”. The pure internal sadness is less present to privilege the homage to darkness. Some guitars parts didn’t convince me either. The same thing can be said for the following “Slave To Negativity”. Somehow the arpeggios are not full of that old desperation of a condemned soul in a tortured body we could find in the past. It’s a pity because they are always good but not focused in a direction I appreciate. Sometimes, the maturity doesn’t go well with music and this is my PERSONAL though for these songs.
Some parts are too long and monotonous and they can’t transmit you the right feeling. I know that the depressive metal has always few riffs in long songs but somehow they should be “catchy” or evocative to be long and appreciable. The last “Forgotten Tomb MMIII” is shorter and faster and that is a good thing but once again I cannot feel the pain and desperation inside. The riffs are extremely powerful and surely more bound to the first EP by the band that was in fast black metal style. Anyway, we must give credit to a band that decided to start something different. In my humble opinion there are just two great songs here while the rest is not absolutely to throw away, but its’ not my cup of tea, if you know what I mean.
I’m sorry, maybe after two excellent albums I expected something more by this band but looking at the previous reviews it’s just a problem by me.
I'm sure i've stated this before, but i'm glad Forgotten Tomb decided to show some creativity in terms of the vocals. Whilst i'm a fan of the distorted screams that black metal bands so often use, variation in vocals is perhaps a priority when a band progresses in sound, which Forgotten Tomb have obviously done since the days of their first demo in the year 2000.
Despite the fact that the first three full-lengths came out one year after the other, the band still progressed in sound. To me, they've continued to take strides since the release of 'Songs To Leave' a few years ago. The latest full-length, 'Negative Megalomania' showed an ability to chop and change things when they saw fit. I thought it was an extremely bold and brave move, but one that they pulled off. I loved the vocals, in particular.
So, here we have 'Love's Burial Ground'. A pinnacle release in the depressive black metal genre. Though that could be said about any of the Forgotten Tomb releases. They have continued to head this genre and it's easy to see their appeal. The way in which they appear to be cool, calm and collected when playing. Everything is in it's right place. Song writing is at it's peak and musicianship is a particularly bright star.
Forgotten Tomb, aside from the latest album, are at their musical peak here. It's not particularly fast and aggressive, like previous albums. But it flows with an ease and class that very few black metal bands can achieve. Steady build-ups are at the foreground of Love's Burial Ground. Slow, progressive songs are fitting. It creates a better atmosphere and the vocals, although the biggest downfall in my eyes, adapt well to the slow style. This enhances the atmosphere and generally makes this a more accessibly album to the masses.
Instrumentally, Forgotten Tomb are on top of their game. Percussion elements are spot on. They're punchy and subtly aggressive. No longer do Forgotten Tomb seem over the top or in a rush, everything appears to be well thought out. Diverse and depressive by nature, Forgotten Tomb are on to a clear winner. The introduction of short interludes are welcome, they inspire the music and suicidal feelings behind the record. The addition of different sounding instruments, like the piano on 'House of Nostalgia' are welcome as well. To me, the piano often has a very sad sound, this fits perfectly well into the soundscapes of Forgotten Tomb.
Thankfully, this full-length isn't left behind, doesn't fail to live up to expectations and is highly emotive. When Forgotten Tomb do decide to pack their music with raw emotion like they have done here, they will always come out superior. Highlights: Slave To Negativity, House Of Nostalgia and Alone.