Sadness and melancholy are part and parcel of modern life; just ask Forgotten Tomb. Just over a year after they released the grim and gloomy “Under Saturn Retrograde”, Herr Morbid and his band of not so merry men have returned to plumb the depths of despair once more with another slab of despondent Black/Doom metal that has become their trademark after the raw black metal of their early releases. These are sad times indeed and Forgotten Tomb are here to make sure you don’t ever forget it.
Opening with the pure Shining worship of ‘Deprived’, Forgotten Tomb immediately immerse the listener in their tumultuous waves of sorrow yet offer tantalisingly brief glimmers of light amidst their sombre palette of greys in the form of deeply embedded melodies and ascending, heads-down riffing that acts as a curious uplift to the themes of despair that are so deeply woven through the album. The title track creates a chilling atmosphere of dread with its mid-paced black metal riffing and Herr Morbid’s tortured shrieks capturing something truly harrowing as the relentless double-kick drumming re-affirms the hopelessness of the situation. ‘Cold Summer’ takes the longer route, dragging you through a landscape rent with suffering as the dirge of the guitars cut into your flesh like a blunt razor blade.
At first glance, a song title such as ‘Let’s Torture Each Other’ may induce sniggers but prepare to have that smirk wiped off your face as the big swaggering riffs and classic metal structures paint a darkly comic picture of a relationship pushed to the furthest reaches of passion and then some. A few coldly anthemic melodies reminiscent of Icon-era Paradise Lost give the track an early 90’s Peaceville feel before the mid-paced lurch of ‘Love Me Like You’d Love the Death’ returns to the more sombre tones of earlier with its plaintive acoustic passages until a superbly crafted solo swirls through the murk like a noose around your neck.
‘Adrift’ arrives somewhere between Austere and Insomnium with its juxtaposition of deeply intoned clean vocals, harsh screeches and driving, chrome riffing laying bare the emotional power of the song for all to see. Final track ‘Nullifying Tomorrow maintains the sorrow to the bitter end as the writhing layers of riffs, achingly sad melodies and solid, clinical drumming leave you bereft and utterly spent.
Offering up something truly heartbreaking unlike the somewhat contrived nature of biggest influence Shining, Forgotten Tomb have once again crafted a deeply personal and affecting album that isn’t afraid to use stadium rock tactics to ram home its message of hopelessness and loss. The frequent use of expertly written melodies and lapses into stark acoustic territory ensure things are kept fresh and interesting throughout, and you find yourself being drawn inexorably into “…And Don’t Deliver Us from Evil” with little care as to finding your way out again.