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The cover to this album sums up the nature of the music very well; an eerie looking abandoned house sitting silently amidst a series of leafless trees against a dreary gray background. Simple, yet does plenty to convey a sense of solitude and loneliness. The same can be said about the music presented on Forgotten Tomb’s second release “Springtime Depression”. Released back when FT wasn’t a group at all, but a solo project, in which main man Herr Morbid was responsible for everything. Back when FT was a straight depressive black metal band instead of the more gothic style doom metal project it is today.
After a so-so EP, the project brought out its debut album “Songs to Leave” back in 2002, an album that justifiably could be called one of the best in the genre. It’s tortured; doom influenced brand of black metal did plenty to craft a state of absolute misery over its five tracks. With its cold synth work, devastated screaming vocals and bleak and empty atmosphere, it was quite a depressing powerhouse of an album. Skip ahead a year later, FT releases its sophomore LP, “Springtime Depression”. Here Herr Morbid takes the music in a slightly different direction, making many small improvements that end up having a big impact on the sound.
The production is much better than before, every instrument is much clearer and everything sounds exactly as it should. Guitars play a series of thick, incredibly grim sounding riffs with haunting clean acoustics that melodiously play out over them blended together to create a dark wall of sound, versus the fuzzy, thin mixing on “Songs to Leave”. They definitely have a distinct doom metal vibe to them. The drums are punchier and heavier this time around and the vocals have shifted from tortured high pitched screams to traditional BM rasps. The overall sound is uncomplicated but still memorable. Each track is catchy and sticks out, following a slow, melodic, brooding structure, as if it were a funeral march. The only track that breaks from this is “Daylight Obsession”. With its visceral drum work, it stands out as the fastest track on the album.
But where this album shines brightest is in its emotions. The chilling vocals, coupled with the loud riffs successfully weave together a piercing, atmosphere of depression, hopelessness and suicidal feelings. Herr Morbid has done an excellent job putting out these empty emotions in the music and convincing the listener of the depth of his own personal struggles with them. The grief and pain shine through the fairly simplistic nature of the actual music, giving them that much more weight and power. One track that a stick out in relation to this is the title track; an instrumental that contains nothing but clean guitars playing a very somber melody that paints pictures as bleak as the album cover. It’s absolutely chilling.
This album manages to succeed where most DSBM does not; a depressing album with genuine sorrow and melancholy behind it that manages to pull the listeners into the same feelings it puts on display. While the music is fairly simple, it’s executed beautifully and very memorable. It may not please everybody, but for me, this album is the apex of what a DSBM album should be like.
(Originally posted on Sputnikmusic.com)
I've listened the album "Love's Burial Ground", and I was thinking of it as one of my favorite depressive black metal releases, but I guess I was wrong. Springtime Depression is a very great cold release and its not just a normal album. this album is just another excellent shred of fathomless darkness. The members tried to release the depression weight of their minds, but nothing can ever release these tons of pains.
By using both traditional and the black dark doom styles, Forgotten Tomb absorb the listener in a world without compromise. The music is very rich and varied, there is a real work of composition behind this dark sound. Each instrument has its location and sounds like it should sound, which makes the resultant style of Forgotten Tomb unmistakable. The production on this album is greatly improved from the previous, and these influences enable them to create an unhealthy and gloomy style while retaining their own personality. There are some melodies in the music of this album, and the two guitars have never played the same chords at the same time, the distortion was very powerful, which directs all its agreements with the lead guitar sections, and more depressing, with a cleaner and hypnotic sound.
My favorite track was "Springtime Depression", all clean guitar that sounds as if you woke up and discovered that the world has been devastated and turned to ash. This instrumental track also sounds like the announcement of a new world, swept all the traces of the humans, but a glimmering of hope. This piece can also make us recover our painful memories by the icy depths that made us endure Forgotten Tomb. I really enjoy the challenge every now and then, and I enjoy depressive\suicidal black metal accomplished at its most clear extremes, so I recommend this this album for all the melancholic music seekers, this release can hypnotize you to tie a rope around your nick, and let you jump to the depths of your memories.
Well played, well written music performed by experienced musicians, full of emotions and so deep imitation of the great depressive black metal bands bands, this album will always be remembered.
The best tracks :
Everything up to actually hearing the album.
Songs To Leave is one of my favourite black metal albums, and surely it is in the depressive field, and the following Springtime Depression isn’t just a follow up to a great album. It’s another great piece of obscure, sad and totally annihilating dark/black metal. This time, Herr Morbid decided to go to the mythical Abyss Studios and you can hear it very well in the bombastic production. This new, extra pounding sound, anyway, didn’t ruin the sad burden of this band. It even increased the suffocating, black atmosphere.
So often I tried other depressive black metal bands but none of them was able to give me these emotions I can find in the first two albums by Forgotten Tomb. The sound itself is far better without the fuzzy guitars and the too extreme vocals. These bands, to me, are just a bit boring and not too depressive. Anyways, here the things are different and the instruments are truly clear and violent, having that deep force (in terms of sound and emotions) they deserve. Herr Morbid was in a period of great inspiration and all the songs here are truly great.
The classic depressive doom/black metal by Forgotten Tomb always features incredibly sad, dark and inner devastating riffs that can go from arpeggios to open chords; but the main goal is to create the most gloom music ever and they achieved the goal. The doom, funeral parts are perfectly alternated to some acoustic guitars ones in a terrifying atmosphere of pure human decadence and loss. The vocals are suffered but not too extreme and that’s the thing I like because they are perfect to follow the music, without deleting its burden of sadness. They are not invading but great.
The only song that features a different approach is the acoustic, desperate title track. It contains some of the most beautiful melodies here, a melody that is able to be so shining in some parts, while totally black in others. The code word is to play depressive and manipulating as much as possible and they are great for this. In “Daylight Obsession” we can find also some faster tempos by a restless drumming. It’s perfect to break the slow march of these songs. “Subway Apathy” is awesome for the burden of grief it has and seems that all the black atmosphere they didn’t use previously, are here to shock us for the last time.
The ultra slow arpeggio and the middle part, with a wise use of some keys, are totally obscure and they recreate perfectly the desolation of a subway by night, without people. The final seal of an album to admire and enjoy from the first note to the very last. I still couldn’t find albums with such a brutal, inner devastating feeling like we have in this one or in their debut. This is pure misanthropy through music, an effigy of the pure sickness that lies in the human subconscious.
Forgotten Tomb are a now well established name in the black metal scene. They have acquired fans world-wide with their bleak songs that convey very negative messages about various topics, such as depression and suicide. In a scene such as underground black metal, fans are always looking for music that conveys the inner most fears and troubles that humans go through each and every day of their lives. Aspects of life that aren't addressed as crudely in the popular music mainstream society. Forgotten Tomb play a brand of metal music that isn't particularly attractive to everyone. It's an acquired taste and is seen as a black spot in the history of music. So, displaying affections for a band just like Forgotten Tomb would be seen as a major 'fuck you' to society and all it's bullshit on what is acceptable.
Just like the attitude of many black metal fans, Forgotten Tomb's music is a big 'fuck you' to anyone who doesn't feel raw negative emotions. Depression, loneliness and isolation from mankind. Their music conveys their lyrical themes better than the actual lyrics do. The same could be said about many of black metal's biggest underground names. To me, lyrics and vocals aren't especially important. I think about the first time I heard the title track 'Springtime Depression'. It opened my eyes to solely instrumental music and what effect it can have upon the listener. The unmistakable feeling of depression swept over me like an eagle stalking it's prey from the skies.
Once again the vocals are the downside to a black metal record. They feel somewhat hollow and perhaps the intention is to give a sound devoid of all emotion, but personally, I like emotive vocals. Forgotten Tomb's vocals spark no real reaction from me. Sometimes I wish 'Springtime Depression' was a solely instrumental piece. Then i'd be spared the deep throaty vocals which contain a distinct lack of passion. The guitars and the soundscapes they create are near perfect. This is where the best of the band can be seen.
Feelings of solitude and isolation are conjured up. Feelings of love and happiness are immediately erased. The bass adds depth and is effective in enhancing the dark mood. The slow pace suits the every desire of Forgotten Tomb. This is where the doom influence comes greatly in to play. Riffs played at walking speed, amidst venomous drums, pounding away in the distance like a march of war. Hypnotising, memorising and spellbinding. Although the production isn't much to shout about, Forgotten Tomb do a good job in serving up another slab of black metal genius. Scars, Daylight Obsession and Subway Apathy are notable greats.