Forgotten Tomb – The Zenith of Discomfort

Sunday, 31st March 2013

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Gotta love the way in which Italy’s Forgotten Tomb operates; there’s no cloak-and-dagger lyrical roundabouts, or symphonic hankerings, or even bloated, album-long concepts. Herr Morbid and team just put their heads down, grappling with post black stylizations, and catchy-as-fuck Goth metal heart-tugging. Like last year’s most excellent Under Saturn Retrograde, their new …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is impactful from the start, with FT staying out of predictable territory via the brash “Cold Summer” and memorable “Adrift,” which benefits from Morbid’s underrated clean vocals. In all, it’s a brilliant black/Goth metal hybrid that for the most part, eludes proper description.

Never at a loss for words, we grabbed Mr. Morbid for a round of questions. As expected, the frontman held up his end of the bargain… We’ll start with the obvious question: Why such the quick turnaround between albums?

Herr Morbid: Why not? Inspiration was there, so we just kept the ball rolling. We took over three years in between Love’s Burial Ground and Negative Megalomania, then other four in between that and Under Saturn Retrograde, this time only a little more than one year. Let’s hope the next album comes around in no more than one year and half or so. How much live support did you give Under Saturn Retrograde? And if so, how did the shows turn out?

Morbid: Quite a lot, we’ll have played around 30 shows in between 2011 and end of 2012. Most of them were very good, especially on big festivals such as Hellfest in France. We’ll see how the upcoming tour goes. You’ve added a new guitarist in the form of A. How is he working out?

Morbid: Pretty good I’d say, though he didn’t record on the album, I took care of all guitar duties for this one. Under Saturn Retrograde could been seen as the proper launch point for …And Don’t Deliver Us. It feels like this one is more stripped down, though. A case of less is more? At the same time, it’s still very in-your-face, much like Under Saturn was. Is this done in part to make them come across better live?

Morbid: I think we took the more rocking vibe and the aggression of Under Saturn Retrograde and took it to the next level, while at the same time we went heavier and darker and got back many elements from our early albums. In general, compared to USR, which was very melancholic, this new album is sicker and more desperate. It’s totally dark. We certainly became more straight-forward and “rockish” over the years, though the depressive and dark feeling is still totally there, in fact I think this new album is the darkest album we’ve ever done after Love’s Burial Ground. We like all of our albums, but this time we just outdid ourselves in terms of songwriting and atmosphere. I personally consider this album one of the best I ever wrote and I could die happily after its release. Nothing to regret about these new songs. 100% Forgotten Tomb fucked up shit.

Evolution is needed because we always want to keep up to date and to be way beyond the awful amount of clone-bands there are around nowadays. We started a whole sub-movement back in the days, so we always have to lead, certainly not to step back. This said, it also comes natural because we became better musicians and my songwriting skills got more mature, probably also because of getting older and such. It’s mostly a constant research to reach the zenith of discomfort, which musically speaking is made possible also by an improved technique and by an attitude getting stronger and more focused album after album. We took a great care of arrangements though, so it might sound apparently more direct but if you listen closely to it there’s a huge amount of guitar and bass layers there, lots of things to be discovered after every listening session. Take one look at some of the song titles from the new album…there’s some seriously dark and twisted stuff going on. Your “darkest” to date?

Morbid: Yeah, definitely, as said before. It’s a very personal album lyric-wise. There a couple of songs about love and fucked up relationships, which is something I haven’t talked about in years, for instance. But it doesn’t get too specific, it’s mostly my vision of how I see and live this kind of things nowadays, and it’s incredibly negative stuff. Nothing fancy or “emo” like some people might suspect. It’s completely dark stuff. It’s about things that I experienced myself but it’s also about what I see around me.

Then there are other songs dealing with pure despair and self-destruction, stuff about this will to die and disappear that caught my life over the last year and half. Things got incredibly dark at a certain point and I just came up with these lyrics. Haters gonna hate, though this is just how I felt when I wrote the lyrics and if you think I’m a poser or something, you can kiss my ass and go fuck yourself right away, ‘cause I lived and suffered every fucking line in these new lyrics. There are also many references to sickness/diseases, physical pain and abuse of alcohol and several other stuff. And again, it’s both stuff that I lived on my skin, as well as the atmosphere of complete decadence I’ve been living in during the whole songwriting. Generally speaking, it’s an incredibly dark album lyrically-wise, it never got so dark since Love’s Burial Ground, but the difference is that now I’m an adult and I have the proper skills to write down this stuff without regretting it afterwards.

This album to me sounds like a testament of someone who could die from a moment to the other. And if it would happen, I would have nothing to regret ‘cause I really said it all through these seven songs. I just totally nailed it this time, which in a way makes me proud of what I accomplished with this album but at the same time it feels so incredibly miserable to listen to these songs. There are moments in these songs where I feel like breaking down when I listen to. It’s a tough album for me to listen to, and this wasn’t happening since a lot of time, so I think fans should feel all this pain is fucking real. The cover art is a play on the whole “forbidden fruit” notion, but you’ve made it more ominous than ever before. What drew you to this topic?

Morbid: I was so out of my mind in that particular moment of my life that I could not work on the artwork on the album directly, just contributed with some ideas and pictures for the inside of the booklet and generally choosing the fonts for the lyrics and approving the final product. Alex (aka Algol), our bass-player, mostly came up with the idea for the front-artwork and I thought it was cool, so he just told our idea to the graphic designer and he came up with the cover. It looks kind of old fashioned, but still different from most of the shit you see on black metal albums nowadays. It basically reflects the title and concept of the album pretty well, it’s about the death of innocence and about delivering your soul to evil, meaning submitting to the dark side of life. I strongly wanted children and young people to be featured in the artwork/booklet ‘cause I like the concept of innocence getting corrupted, so you can find a child on the cover of the CD as well as another child on the cover of the Deprived 7-inch, and pictures of young people hurting themselves in the booklet. I’m particularly enamored with “Cold Summer.” It’s one of the longest songs on the album, but it doesn’t feel very long. What’s the story behind this one?

Morbid: It’s a song dealing lyrically with sickness and diseases, physical pain. It was spawned from a particular moment of my life that happened during summer 2011. The title “Cold Summer” obviously sounds as a contradiction but was done on purpose, to create a contrast between how I felt in life (cold) compared to the hotness of that summer. Musically, it’s one of the heaviest songs we’ve ever wrote, I think it might be described as a crossover between some material out of Springtime Depression and some more doomish/sludgy shit. I love the song, it’s also one of the first ones I wrote for the album. To the untrained ear/less familiar, some could take “Let’s Torture Each Other” the wrong way, as interpreting the song the wrong way. What’s the best way to approach this one?

Morbid: It depends, musically it’s very rockish but still extremely eerie sounding, very cruel. Lyrics deal mostly with my vision of love and relationships nowadays, which is negative and dark as fuck, to say the least. One of the best lyrics I ever wrote. “Adrift” has one of your better opening melodic lines, along with some clean vocals, which fit well. Are you becoming more open to using clean vocals?

Morbid: Not really, there were actually more clean vocals on our previous two albums, though I’m always in for clean vocals, as long as they’re needed and fit the music well. We won’t certainly force them into an album; it all depends on the mood of the songs. You covered “Transmission” by Joy Division and one could see where these guys influenced Forgotten Tomb. Do you think they’re a band that should have gotten more recognition?

Morbid: I think they got a lot of recognition already, we just wanted to pay our tribute since we love the band and I’m a huge fan of Ian Curtis. Also, that song and Joy Division in general provided the soundtrack for most of my days during last year so it felt so natural to cover them. Finally, what’s on the agenda going into 2013?

Morbid: We will be touring with Enthroned and Impiety in between November and December and then possibly tour again next year, as well as playing single shows and summer festivals in 2013. We are also working on a DVD, a video clip and possibly starting to write some new material, we’ll see what happens.

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