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FORGOTTEN TOMB: "Under Saturn Retrograde" - 60%

skaven, June 9th, 2012

I’d consider myself as one of the many who enjoyed Forgotten Tomb’s first albums - Songs to Leave and Springtime Depression in particular - to a great extent, those albums being some of the cornerstone albums of the suicidal black/doom metal phenomenom, but since 2007’s Negative Megalomania and its upbeat rock elements, the downfall began. On their newest offering Under Saturn Retrograde, the band continues on this renewed path, meaning rather accessible compositions in a clear production with almost zero signs of the mournful melodies of the first albums. However, I wouldn’t go as far as calling this effort a total failure, because it’s very audible that Under Saturn Retrograde is a thoughtfully crafted album.

To depict the band’s current sound, one could think of modern Katatonia’s (The Great Cold Distance, Night Is the New Day) pulsating metal / rock rhythms and bright sound, combined with Shining’s lunacy. This all is most evidently witnessed on the first track "Reject Existence" and the two other rather chorus-based followers, "Shutter" and "Downlift", after which a surprisingly decent The Stooges cover "I Wanna Be Your Dog" appears. Next up is the goth-full "Joyless" that, albeit having some pretty nice and delicate melodies in the end, is a slight moodkiller with its HIM and Sentenced influences, especially in the clear vocal department. "Under Saturn Retrograde Part I" is the fastest and most black metal song on the album, followed by the opposite "Part II" which relents a little with acoustic guitars and sweet bass guitar lines. "You Can’t Kill Who’s Already Dead" runs a little too long for its 9-minute length, but "Spectres Over Venice" is there to compensate, being the album’s highlight with its great ending chord progressions.

It must be stated again that Forgotten Tomb is no longer the same band it was during early 2000s; Under Saturn Retrograde is a rather sophisticated dark metal / rock album from which a devoted DSBM lover won’t find much to enjoy. But in regard to what the band plays nowadays, they do it with success. It might not be what I’d personally listen to on a daily basis, but will certainly, and generally speaking, trigger the interest of a slightly younger and mainstream audience who are not interested in lo-fi suicidal black metal bands.

3 / 5
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