without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I first discovered Forgotten Tomb during a rather uneventful time in my life. A time where I would spend long stretches by my lonesome in my bedroom, moping about girls and binging New Vegas. On the plus side, I did discover some pretty good music during this time, mainly underground black metal bands which really spurred my fascination with the genre. Forgotten Tomb were probably the first true depressive black metal band I've heard, the song Disenheartenment to be exact. I was amazed by the singers powerful vocals and the touching melodies, heck, I still am to this day. And whilst I don't listen to the Tomb as often as I used to, this band, and this album in particular with always maintain a place in my heart.
Forgotten Tomb are one of the biggest depressive black metal acts along with Lifelover, Shining and Xasthur. The music they play on Songs to Leave is a slow to mid paced style of depressive music with heavy doom elements scattered around. The overall playing ranges from slow and mournful sections to more frenetic, blasting sections. The melodies range from mournful and depressive to upbeat and melodic, it's a rather curious mix upon first glance but the juxtaposition between abrasion and melody is expertly woven into the fabric of the music.
Songs to Leave seemed to have set the modern standard for the genre. The low production values, distorted guitars and haunting vocals are all what the scene will become known for. Although there is still some more traditional black metal elements within this album. A lot of the melodies have a very Burzum feel to them, lots of long, droning melodies with a fair amount of variation thrown in. The doom elements are presented by some of the thicker guitar tunes, Steal My Corpse in particular is a heavily doom influenced track showing the bands willingness to mix and match genres.
One of the other reviewers criticized the vocals heavily, however I find their delivery to be emotionally engaging. They have a very raw and anguished feel to them which suits the overall tone of the music which is very dark and dreary. The production is perfect for the album, the guitar tone is rather thick and meaty and the vocals are at a suitable level. Even the bass can be heard which I appreciate. There's a very good balance going on with the production, although the level of distortion on the vocals presented by Entombed by Winter is rather difficult to stomach. The distortion robs them of any power, rendering them thin and synthetic.
However, despite the shaky beginnings the album soon begins to pick up pace. The more doom laden guitar work present in the aforementioned track is effective, with the band choosing some really cool guitar lines, very emotional indeed. Overall, the album has a very neat flow to it, despite each track being different in their own ways, nothing ever feels incongruous. The more upbeat nature of Solitude Ways balances well with the dirge of Entombed by Winter. Transitions are always smooth and executed with surgical precision giving the album a very organic and natural feel. This is one of the albums where individual songs can be listened to as each track has their own unique personality.
Whilst I've drifted a fair bit from Forgotten Tomb over the years, I still hold Songs to Leave to be a masterpiece of depressive black metal. The anguished vocals and brooding instrumentation all come together to create an emotionally engaging album that still holds up to this day. Being one of the most pivotal bands within the scene, you owe it to yourself to check this out.
A winter day in complete solitude, an abandoned house, a gloomy room, a soul without a body, a body without a soul…Forgotten Tomb are all this in their first, desperate effort, “Songs To Leave”. The negativity in this effigy of the inner depression has no comparison. The pure desperation that lies in these tracks can only lead to a suicide in the most obscure room of your home.
Created in 1999, after a Mini CD of fast black metal, Forgotten Tomb conceived an album that can be easily considered one of the top ones in this field. The Forgotten Tomb of 2002 were pure pain, so forget about the clean vocals and the not too depressive mood of Negative Megalomania album. Five songs only to make darkness descend even over the most shiny place…there’s no way out like said in “No Way Out” song.
The drums in their slow agony are like the pulse of a dying heart, destroyed by sadness, desolation, and life. The guitars draw landscapes of pure depression in their play between lead parts and arpeggios. The agony of “Enthroned By Winter” is superb, an incredible track especially during the arpeggios, always “deep”, intense and internally devastating. The intelligent use of some (few) keyboards makes the sound even colder. They are just utilized as a “base” during the arpeggios but they always give a really particular touch.
Surely the most important influences for Herr Morbid are Burzum, Manes, Strid and Katatonia. An important example for anyone who wants to follow the path, as musician or not, of the true depressive dark/black metal. There’s no happiness in this journey that so often can lead you to a suicide or to the self mutilation.
The few lights you can find here are just those sterile of the neon in a dirty, black subway. They are the light of the hope of a soul that tries to not abandon a tired body, let down by an empty and dark life. Herr Morbid understands it very well and transforms it in excellent music. A title like “Disheartenment” is an example of what I said: the screams are the main symbol of the internal sickness that leaves you completely empty.
A masterpiece of sickness in its purest form. Listen to it and prepared to be annihilated by the beautiful depression.
Songs To Leave ... Out of the collection, perhaps. I'm not a great fan of this full-length record. It represents the only downfall in a glittering career for Forgotten Tomb. That doesn't mean to say it's terrible to the point where listeners would be seen vomiting at the thought of listening to Songs To Leave. However, it's by no means fantastic.
There are far too many elements to the music which are lacking or stuttering behind some of the bands other works. The vocals have hit an all time low for me. The indecipherable rasping sound isn't particularly good. In actual fact it's one of the more mediocre showings any black metal vocalist has produced in recent years and for a band of this calibre, they really should be better. I for one am glad when it comes to the introduction of the clean vocals. They add spice, variation and give Forgotten Tomb a whole new lease of life. They weren't very popular to begin with, but I can see them growing on people in the not so distant future.
I do struggle to see the appeal of these vocals. Especially as they detract from the music greatly. They're very restrictive. I don't see them as being particularly emotive and to be honest, neither is the music itself. It creates an odd image of itself. The guitars seem to be undecided over whether to create a collage of depressing and desolate riffs, or whether to add new impetus to the overall sound. At points, the guitars sound rather upbeat in terms of tones, which doesn't suit the style of vocals at all. Then again, i'm not entirely sure what style of music would suit the vocals. They're lacklustre.
Songs To Leave offers a vast array of different riffs and leads, but they're not impressive. A lack of innovation is costly here. Forgotten Tomb have for once failed to live up to the high expectations. There is only one case in which I can safely say I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this full-length and that would be on the track, 'Disheartenment'. Otherwise, Forgotten Tomb's mid to fast paced music is unappealing and holes have begun to show in their performance. That's not to say that there aren't good sections because there are, as aforementioned.
Some neat play pokes it's head every now and then, but it's few and far between. The uninspiring percussion sections don't go down well either. 'Disheartenment' is the only time when depression truly sets in and Forgotten Tomb finally let loose. The riffs ebb and flow nicely culminating in a delightful ambient piece of music. Again, these parts are few and far between. Disappointing.
I think Forgotten Tomb is the depressive black metal band by choice. Screw all those other half-assed bands who think they're 'depressive' or 'suicidal' because they can't record for shit, Forgotten Tomb can do something clean and not too raw and still create the most negative music ever. I discovered this band in 2004 when Love's Burial Ground was released, which was critically acclaimed that year for its depressive sound. This is their first full-length and considered by many to be their magnum opus (although their other albums are also excellent and I have yet to hear 'Negative Megalomania'). Unlike a lot of bands in the genre, the production here is surprisingly clean, but don't get me wrong: it's heavy. The guitar tone is somewhat reminiscent of (or maybe inspired?) bands like Beatrik and Nortt (although Nortt has a completely unique and harsh sound, I won't deny that). One may think the Forgotten Tomb recipe for making a depressive song lies in being repetitive and creating trance-like atmosphere, but it's the complete opposite. The first track, for instance, doesn't really drag on itself and doesn't feel repetitive at all. The clean guitar tone in the intro instantly creates an incredibly solitary and obscure tone. This atmosphere is further improved near the 2 minutes, where the modified (to good effect) vocals kick in. Now i'm no master of production, but it's something similar to Sun of the Sleepless' work on their split with nachtmahr (more specifically on the song Spring '99). The rest of the song continues in a rather slow fashion, occasionally switching to clean guitar. A good comparison for this band would be Shining (more specifically on the excellent 'The Eerie Cold'), minus the accoustic and more atmopsheric parts. What fascinates me the most about this album is how it manages to be extremely negative but still throw in a couple of melodic/speedy riffs here and there. Production is immaculate, more specifically on the clean guitar passages. An excellent album overall, which any fan of so-called "depressive black metal" should own. This is the real deal.
Forgotten Tomb are by far one the best bands in the vain of depressive metal. Their unique blend of doom and black, while maintaining strong melodic elements is only equaled by Katatonia's early work.
The production on this album is perfect, the rythme guitars drone in the background letting the melodic leads be heard clearly. The drums are sharp and very tight.
The vocal work on this album is something along the lines of Burzum's first few albums, only slightly more controled and understandable.
The album opens off with "Entombed by Winter", the darkest track on the album. The vocals start off earbleedingly distorted, and work their way to fever pitch.
The songs then progress in a melodic direction through "Solitude Ways", which has a very Burzumite rythemic feel, and onto the yet more melodic but none the less depressive "Steal my Corpse". Now to the shortest track of the album "No Way Out" Some great lead work flows very well, but all other songs on this album or if not within the genre bow down to the mighty final track of this album. A 12:43 long epic of melancholy "Disheartenment". All the best elements from the other songs are included in this final track, truely one of the greast doom songs ever written.
Overall, if you are into doom or black-metal, with talent, melody and melancholy get this album. Ingnore the latter work of this band, which is rather uselessly grim and out done by the likes of Shining and Silencer.
Forgotten Tomb is undoubtedly one of the coolest bands I have heard in a long time. It is so exciting to see that the true spirit of doom and black are kept alive in this blistering band. “Songs to Leave” are a collection of melancholic and sorrowful tunes that drag you deep into hell. The first track is “Entombed by Winter” and it is a brilliant opener. It starts slow; creepy noises are heard in the background, some kind of synthesizing effect that repeats itself repeatedly throughout the song. The voice in this particular track sounds a lot like Burzum (think “Dunkelheit” from Filosofem).
The second track is “Solitude Ways”, melodic, very dark and has a nice change of tempo in the middle. The song has a slow pace but is full of crunching guitar riffs, the voice is a lit cleaner and sounds less distorted then in the first track. “Steal my Corpse” departs from the slower paced before mentioned tracks, it starts out with a riff that evokes pure sadness and then breaks into an all out black metal band, lightning speed drumming, haunting screams, and blazing guitars, one of the fastest songs in the album, it will appeal to old school black metal fans, the over all riffs remind me of Mayhem.
The last two tracks are the gems of this release. “No Way Out” has an awesome guitar melody that is amazingly catchy, the double bass throughout the song add an amazing texture. Finally the song that stands out above the rest, “ Disheartenment” is something that sounds straight out of the October Tide album “Rain without End” album. Sorrowful guitars wail as the song unfolds and in my humble opinion, this song really evokes melancholy and heartbreak, the vocals bleed agony and add to the dramatic over all sound of the song.
This band is one of the best things that has happened to Heavy Metal, they musicianship is flawless, the songs are perfectly constructed and there is no single weak spot here, if you are into dark metal and dark lyrics you will love this band and this release.