I’m hazarding a guess here that when a black metal band gets to the point when they can no longer hit the machine gun fire attack of 180 bpm, but they still harbour a deep-seated hate for God and life, they make the graceful move toward blackened doom. Hailing from Italy, Forgotten Tomb are a quartet consisting of multi-instrumentalist Herr Morbid on guitars and vocals, Razor SK on guitars, Algol on bass and Asher on drums. And for whatever reason Forgotten Tomb went with this obscure form of Italian blackened, rock-infused doom metal, they have certainly proved themselves more than capable musicians, having five full length studio releases, a couple of EP’s, a live release and a tribute under their belts. Though they are a bit of an odd bird sound-wise, Forgotten Tomb have a musical style reminiscent of early Woods of Ypres (Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth era), Shining and Lifelover.
Herr Morbid’s melancholy drenched vocals and lyrics were the very first thing that stood out for me. He uses a blend of blackened shrieks, screams and grunts (much like Shining’s Kvarforth) combined with beautifully seamless clean vocals, and while this can sometimes sound disjointed when not properly combined, that’s not the case with Forgotten Tomb’s …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil. Herr Morbid’s clean vocals are clear and to the point, but not so clear that you won’t want to grab the booklet from time to time.
In terms of lyrics, this album is most assuredly not for the faint hearted, they follow on with the nihilistic and negative themes introduced in Under Saturn Retrograde and as with the 2011 release, the lyrics are intensely depressing while still bringing out the hopeless romantic buried somewhere deep inside me – like this passage from “Cold Summer” – ‘Rotten blood drained straight from my arteries. Rust in my mouth, the foul stench of lovely perversion’, and this one from “Let’s Torture Each Other” – ‘You’ll slit my fucking throat. I’ll kick your chair so you can swing from your rope. Let’s burn together, let’s start our strife. Let’s dig our fucking graves, let’s waste our lives’ [Wow, that sure is romantic! – Steel Druhm].
The album opens up with “Deprived” and initially it’s all too easy to mistake the track for one-off a Shining album. The remaining tracks all follow comfortably from this point with all tracks contributing to the whole (no filler). Musically the album follows straight on from where Under Saturn Retrograde left off and much like Forgotten Tomb’s lyrics, their melodies take you on a roller coaster ride, going from haunting, weirdly festive, fast and catchy to hypnotic, crushing and soul-sucking all within an instant.
The biggest letdown with this album comes around full circle to my earlier comment – musically this album follows straight on from where Under Saturn Retrograde left off. While I love Under Saturn Retrograde, Forgotten Tomb’s 2007 release Negative Megalomania will always remain their magnum opus and I would like to have heard more of the black metal sludgy, abrasive, rawness of this earlier release carried through into …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil. Seeing the bands listed on Finnvox Studio’s list of references, in particular their experience with black metalers Impaled Nazarene and Children Of Bodom, I can’t help but wonder why the production lacks the rawness I crave.
In addition to “Cold Summer” and “Let’s Torture Each Other” being standout tracks, “Love Me Like You Love The Death” has a haunting, simplistic guitar melody layered with shrieks and screams that sound as though Herr Morbid is attempting to rip his own bloody beating heart straight from its protective cavity. This left me wanting for more of the same. While I sincerely wish that this album had been less a follow-on of last year’s album and more a return to Forgotten Tomb‘s raw blackened doom roots, it’s still a welcome addition to my playlist.