Forgotten Tomb - We Owe You Nothing 01Forgotten Tomb’s recent output has taken on a chunkier form — thick chord patterns becoming the prominent mode of expression. Their depressive black metal escapades of the early 2000s eradicated: the icy sheen of their stabbing tremolo making way for swampier humidity. Now their sound has a lot more in common with southern American bands like Crowbar, Down, and Obituary whilst also sprinkling elements of hardcore and crust into their sound. We Owe You Nothing is Forgotten Tomb’s ninth full-length. Herr Morbid – vocalist, guitarist, and founding member – is at the fore, joined by bassist Algol and drummer Asher who have both been with the band since 2003’s Loves Burial Ground.

Opener “We Owe You Nothing” is a relentless blues-laden sludge number. Herr Morbid spits venom as his vocals contort through various extreme guises. Deep and dirty sludge shouts; vulnerable and depressive snarls; and sharp, throat-cutting snarls are at the helm, although the occasional jaunt into croaking, spoken word realms, and other peculiar territories are never too far away. Beneath these vocals, the instrumentation saunters at an uninspiring pace, a bastard child of Obituary and Black Stone Cherry. Towards its end, it moves into more emotional and melodic vistas as guitar solos and melodic chord progressions rise to the fore, but ultimately it’s immemorable and lacking in originality and character. Follow-up “Second Chances” continues the theme of the previous but with a more urgent and ominous thrust. Asher’s drumming is heavier with double-bass gallops more prominent, Algol’s bass tone deeper and more urgent, and Morbid’s riffs carry greater dissonance and bleakness. Spurts of punky aggression claw through the mix, off-setting the cavernous sound at the song’s core. Both songs are decent but lack a hook and a truly defining feature. Despite transitioning the mix of styles with fluency, the individual sections lack impetus and energy.

Thankfully, “Saboteur” regains the initiative, surging with crusty, head-banging sweetness. Flecks of lead guitar melody twinkle above the sordid crust, clashing with Morbid’s excellent growls and expressive bass rhythms. The song has groove, aggression, and energy aplenty. “Abandon Everything” continues this with an even greater melodic focus, sounding somewhat like a mix between Converge and In Flames. Similarly, “Longing For Decay” stretches the melody through realms of middle-eastern expressiveness before abruptly flying it back to the slow, doomy swamplands of America. It’s at this point that I forget that I’m listening to Forgotten Tomb, once depressive black-metal – a band I used to accompany many a sad day of brooding. And, essentially, I don’t care that they sound nothing like that band because some of this is good stuff and there are thousand-and-one bands dipping their toes in depressive waters. But there are thousand-and-two sludge-crust-whatever hybrids too. I still don’t think Forgotten Tomb know what they’re going for.

Forgotten Tomb - We Owe You Nothing 02

“Saboteur” is four minutes too long. In fact, the album suffers from a bloated determination to drag out riffs and patterns for too long. “Second Chances” fades out with superfluous self-indulgence, as does the opener. The styles are not diverse enough for songs to run for such length. Compared to their other more recent albums, particularly Under Saturn Retrograde and … and Don’t Deliver Us From Evil, We Owe You Nothing lacks both the black metal and doom elements to off-set and transform songs into the epic territories that long songs need to succeed.

The shortest track is the closer “Black Overture” which sounds somewhat like a love letter to their depressive past. It’s a beautiful and rich instrumental with airy tremolo pulsing through bubbling, dreamy bass lines and subtle yet rapturous drumming. It makes me want more, so much more. Forgotten Tomb aren’t that band anymore. We Owe You Nothing is by no means a bad album, but it’s nothing special either. Comfortably riding the coattails of a thousand other bands, Forgotten Tomb have gotten lost in the pack and lack charm and character completely. Signs of intrigue arise then fade, buried by overlong songs and unsatisfying song structures. Destined to become a forgotten tomb, perhaps.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Agonia Records
Releases Worldwide: October 27th, 2017

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  • Bandcamp has been pushing this one on me for a minute, kinda glad I didn’t give in and blind buy.
    Seeing Converge mentioned, though, I gotta say the new one is just sooo fucking good. It’s making it difficult to listen to anything else, which I did not see coming.

    • Septic

      Have you checked out Kardashev “The Almanac”? Its really growing on me… Clean singing and all.

      • I have, and I likewise dig, but I’m not spending $10 on a digital album and I have no use for CD’s. If they had a vinyl/download option, I’d probably be jamming it much more frequently.

      • sir_c

        There’s some interesting stuff in it, if you’re into post & stuff. I like some parts of it quite much.
        I do not like the f’ing brickwall production however, impossible listen with proper headphones. That is a pity.

    • The Akerstache

      I didn’t expect the new Converge to be as amazing as it is, shame on me. I Can Tell You About Pain wasn’t that exciting of a single, and I wish Eve has been on the album, but it really is fantastic.

      • I’m in the same boat, I was bracing myself for a letdown even though I preordered it the second it was announced. I actually loved I Can Tell You About Pain, though, and was worried that would be the only decent track. A band can only make so many kickass albums, I figured this would be when the empty sky came crashing down forever.

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          I’ve never listened to Converge as I always thought they were another of the plethora of metal core bands I’ve also ignored.
          You say it ain’t so eh?

          • I’m about to ban your entire bloodline from the hall. Yes, check them out, starting with Jane Doe.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            I just picked up the Ophiuchi album this week. Probably my fav BM album of the year so far.

          • You should check out ROSK’s Miasma, you may be reconsidering your choices.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            I like my BM melodic with lots of feel. I will check them out.

          • Should be right up your alley then, they even tastefully incorporate clean vocals.

        • The Akerstache

          I Can Tell You About Pain just felt very Converge, it’s a good song, but it’s also exactly what I’d expect from Converge. The rest of the album though… holy shit. It’s probably their most diverse yet, and it’s certainly one of their better albums, which is saying a lot.

          I actually got super lucky and picked up the last of their exclusive, record store only, indigo pressings today, it”s absolutely gorgeous.

      • mxtspanya

        I still haven’t listened to the album so I didn’t realise Eve wasn’t on there! That track is amazing though! I can’t believe it. The rest of the album must be pretty phenomenal if they cut it

        • The Akerstache

          It honestly just wouldn’t have fit the pace of the album that well. It already has two slow tracks (the title track and Thousands of Miles Between Us) which are both as good as Eve imo. It’s a great album.

    • Yolo Swaggins

      I find better music by just viewing all the comments…I gotta thank you for introducing me to Illyria.

      • Yolo Swaggins

        Also, I need a section of this website that tells me what all the writers are ‘currently digging’.

        • I am so for this it’s not even funny.

          • Yolo Swaggins

            Please push that for me! (With whatever limited power you have)

      • Man, if you dig that you’ll probably also like Gaoth. I only discovered them recently, and their self-titled came out last year, but it’s technically my favorite black metal find of the year so far. For sheer evil horrendous black chaos, Dodecahedron still steals the show, but Suffering Hour and Tchornobog have proven worthy competition. The upcoming Wending Tide album sounds ridiculously promising as well… It’s been a great year for black metal.
        Oh, and have you heard about Pillorian???

        • Yolo Swaggins

          Haven’t heard Goath or Pillorian – now I have yet two more additions of my never-ending list of ‘check them out’.

          I got bump my ‘music listening per day’ from 7hrs to 8hrs I guess.

      • sir_c

        Oh wow,Illyria sounds cool. Thanks!

    • Meriyas

      I didn’t realise they were releasing an LP, I thought Eve and I Can Tell You About Pain were some kind of an EP. Holy shit though, The Dusk in Us is amazing! This is the most I’ve ever enjoyed a Converge album. From the shouts in A Single Tear to the ridiculous riffs in Broken by Light, it’s just phenomenal.
      Are we going to see a review here fellas?

  • Tofu muncher

    I hate all their album covers; they are too disturbing and off putting. And yea the songs are dragging

    • Nukenado

      Actually, I think their album covers recall something more akin to Atreyu than black metal.

      • Tofu muncher

        despite that, I quite enjoy the songs, actually.

  • This review could have read: Forgotten Tomb – Yup.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    “Sammy, Cass, I think we are looking for a werewolf “.

  • edit:

    “We Owe You Nothing Original”

  • Thais Munk

    Thanks for a great review Akerblogger! :-)

    Also, I just noticed the Angry Metal Guy Comment Policy. It is the best internet policy I’ve ever read. :D

  • sir_c

    I know Loves Burial Ground from wayback. That was a very enjoyable album when in the mood for dark, long running songs. Take a song like “Alone”, I really dig that one.
    This embedded clip sounds more like some Obituary cover band.
    Aker said it right, it’s not bad music, but it’s nothing special either.

    • pfk505

      I love that album, but unfortunately it’s the last decent thing they put out.

      • I really, really enjoy Under Saturn Retrograde. But there’s a goth element to that album missing from the others…

        • sir_c

          Yeah, also a good album with those gothy effects on the guitars indeed.

          It doesn’t change the main conclusion however that WOYN is just the lesser album. Which is a pity. Hopefully they know how to find the way back on the next album, cos I do like this band.

  • IBlackened

    I prefer them when they’re plagiarizing Dolorian, Katatonia and Paradise Lost, not Obituary.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    The embedded track started great…and then just got worse and worse.

  • Wilhelm

    I remember these guys sounding like a more depressive Katatonia, this is a change, and not a good one.

    • A more depressive Katatonia… Did they just cry into a Peavey and call it music?!