Forgotten Tomb – Under Saturn Retrograde (Agonia Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Totally cult and vastly underrated, Italy’s Forgotten Tomb have quietly carved out an impressive career based on miserable, but aggressive doom metal and the occasional flirtation with black metal. Underneath it all are easily accessible songs, most of which don’t have a parallel – Forgotten Tomb songs are instantly identifiable…at least for those who have had the pleasure of hearing them.

With Under Saturn Retrograde (the band’s fifth album), the gauntlet is immediately laid down by opener “Reject Existence.” Accentuated by hard-driving open riff and melody, “Reject Existence” may sound like a left-field song choice for a band lumped into the Goth/black metal arena, but it’s total Forgotten Tomb. On a similar front, desolate guitar harmonies highlight “Shutter” and “You Can’t Kill What’s Already Dead,” both of which find themselves immersed in a swallow of distressing atmospheres and desperate lyrical tones.

A cover of The Stooges “I Want To Be Your Dog” makes perfect sense giving FT’s propensity for outside of the box covers (they previously tackled Nirvana and Black Flag). Perhaps the real highlight here is “Joyless” which sees mainman/singer/guitarist Herr Morbid bust out his drab clean vocals (think a more animated Peter Steele), all of which coincides nicely with a jangly, almost pop-like guitar melody at the song’s back end.

We’re not exaggerating when we speak of how under the radar Forgotten Tomb is, so for them to create a record as strong as Under Saturn Retrograde gives Blistering the ability to look smarter than we really are. But in all seriousness, this band is a must-have for those who clamor for dreary, but accessible soundscapes of Goth metal, but angle for some melody and all-out heaviness. Forgotten Tomb does it all of that…and then some. Get this.

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(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)