I’m just going to come right out and say it: Italy’s Forgotten Tomb is one of the most criminally underrated bands in the Harsh Doom arena, most probably because its early fanbase still feels aggrieved at its reinvention from a Black metal band. Get over it: it’s been that way for the last seventeen years and eight albums. With a solid unit existing throughout that period, it’s also safe to say that this is more than Herr Morbid‘s project, and new album Nihilistic Estrangement (Agonia Records) continues to display the trio’s ever-strengthening unity with expansions on the core sound.Continue reading
Just when you thought winter was on its way out and happy, sun-drenched times were on the way, along come Forgotten Tomb with another slab of depressive black/gothic/doom metal to remind you that life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows; it’s full of pain and sorrow. Having said that, the Italian quartet are nowhere near as bleak as the raw black metal of their early days, and seventh full-length proper Hurt Yourself and the Ones You Love (Agonia) sees them crawl further from the crypt into the glare of stadium rock lights, albeit one located in the depths of your own personal hell.
Still heavily influenced by fellow travellers in woe Shining (the creepy black metal lot, not the jazz weirdos), Forgotten Tomb’s songwriting continues to improve, with big stomping riffs and twisted grooves propelling songs such as ‘King of the Undesirables’ forward with grim intent, like a reanimated corpse that wants your hand in unholy matrimony.
Of course, everything is still coated in an impenetrable layer of darkness that prevents these anti-anthems ever being acceptable to the normals in the light-world, even though there are plenty of mournful melodies that the likes of Paradise Lost and Katatonia would sacrifice their first born for. The frequent lurches into ragged, speedy black metal keeps things dangerous and reminds the listener that the band have not forgotten their twisted, blood-smeared roots.
They’re still eager to court controversy as proven by the eyebrow-raising cover art, album title and over-the top lyrics (“I’ll fuck your daughter, slit her throat then bathe in her blood” anyone?) but thankfully have the musical muscle to back it up. The repetitive, marching dirge of ‘Dread the Sundown’ is the longest walk to the gallows you will ever face while the cold emptiness of coda ‘Swallow the Void’ ends thing on a stark note.
Forgotten Tomb will never hit the big leagues but it would be a crying shame if they did. Their twisted talent and the uncompromising vision of frontman Herr Morbid is something that belongs in the underground, where it thrives away from the light. Hurt Yourself… is a grimly satisfying peek into that darkness.