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Review: Forgotten Tomb - Nihilistic Estrangement
Forgotten Tomb
Nihilistic Estrangement

Label: Agonia Records
Year released: 2020
Duration: 42:18
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: April 15, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (8 Votes)

Forgotten Tomb found themselves at the forefront of what we now call Depressive Suicidal Black Metal with Love's Burial Ground way back in 2004, and have been working to keep their distinctive sound fresh ever since. This has led to some solid albums like Negative Megalomania and ...and Don't Deliver Us from Evil, but also some odd dead spots like the rather weak Under Saturn Retrograde. I missed their past couple of albums, so I can't really tell you how this compares to them. What I can say is that while there's plenty good about this, I also find it a little underwhelming.

Rather than the cold, pitiless sound of their older days, Nihilistic Estrangement is a fairly modern stripe of Black Metal with some doomy post elements incorporated into the atmosphere. That's not to say they've gone as soft as they did on Under Saturn Retrograde, as this is still a fairly bleak and hateful album that contains some great riffs and that tragic, epic melodic sensibility the band has always been known for. My issue is that part of what defined the band at their best was how they mixed those melodies with an atmosphere of despair and self-loathing, and now they've traded it for something that's far less grim and more generic, which really doesn't suit them very well. The brighter production job and smoother songwriting don't really help with this, as they both end up making most of this sound safe and kind of lame. This is perhaps most notable on the title track, which has some sweeping melodies and a laid-back atmosphere, both of which I find pretty involving until I remember that this is supposed to be a Forgotten Tomb album and get frustrated with how toothless it all is.

I dunno, this album has some strong moments and is pretty easy to listen to, but for this band I hold the latter as a big strike against it. I suppose it's unfair to ask the band to stick to one thing for their entire career, and I give them credit for trying to do something different with their sound. That said, this isn't really the direction I want them to take with it, so I can't help but feel disappointed with their abandonment of what they were best at.

More about Forgotten Tomb...
Review: ...and Don't Deliver Us From Evil (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Love's Burial Ground (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Negative Megalomania (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Nihilistic Estrangement (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Songs to Leave (reviewed by Ktb)
Review: Springtime Depression (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Under Saturn Retrograde (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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