Album: Forgotten Tomb, …and Don’t Deliver Us From Evil
Label: Agonia
Release: October 30, 2012 in Europe / November 6, 2012 in North America
Genre: Black/Goth/Doom
Rating: 10/10

Forgotten Tomb is one fucked up band. Let’s get that out of the way up front. From the start of their career back in 1999 they’ve been making some ridiculously depressing/suicidal music. The type of stuff that you listen to before curing up in the fetal position and crying yourself to sleep. These Italians led by guitarist/vocalist Herr Morbid, started out as a ridiculously dark black metal band leaving no doubt about their message and intentions. 2002’s Songs To Leave feature a bathtub suicide on the cover. 2004’s Love’s Burial Ground featured a woman holding a gun in her mouth. In between there was an album called Springtime Depression and songs in this period had titles like “Steal My Corpse,” “Colourless Despondency” and “Kill Life.” Get it, yet?

2007’s Negative Megalomania was the point in the band’s career where they started to evolve, drastically. The album was no less depressing but featured some melodic rock elements and better production. Fans of the band seemed okay with the change in direction, while fans of suicidal black metal ended up being disappointed.

Last year’s Under Saturn Retrograde took the rock element to a whole new level. Songs like “Reject Existence” and “Joyless” still were depressing but damn catchy therefore really fucking with your emotions. I love the record but a lot of people in the scene think they went too far down the rock path. If that’s the case though, …and Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is going to satisfy everyone but those hardcore early fans.

Their latest album blends the two styles perfectly. There are plenty of disgusting, dark, dismal black metal passages and plenty of melody intertwined within them. The album begins with “Deprived” which ends up being the most rocking tune on the record. After that though, the title track and “Love Me Like You’d Love the Death,” are bleak and blacked first and melodic second. But it’s “Let’s Torture Each Other” that really gets me. Gnarly vocals are enhanced by a heavy bass line and a downright headbanging main riff.

The seven track, 52-minute disc is perfectly crafted and superbly produced. The writing is fantastic both lyrically and musically, making …and Don’t Deliver Us From Evil not only the clear pinnacle of their career but a true masterpiece of 2012.

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Album: Sybreed, God Is An Automaton
Label: Listenable Records
Release: October 2, 2012
Genre: Industrial Groove Metal
Rating: 7/10

What happened to industrial music in the US? I’m sure there’s still a scene but I have no idea if it’s just me that no longer really cares about it or if it’s wider spread than that. After the big push of industrial music in the ’90s and early ’00s, I seem to have lost touch. Major bands like KMFDM and Skinny Puppy are a shell of their former selves and if there is an underground scene for it (there’s an underground scene for everything) then I’m completely oblivious to what’s going on with it. Even the rare band like Fear Factory that’s still at the tip of everyone’s tongue isn’t really all that spectacular. So industrial metal usually slips by my radar when it comes to new music. Enter Sybreed, though.

The Swiss quartet seems to be well respected in the metal world based off their three LPs and two EP’s released before God Is An Automaton. And after going back to listen to some of their older material, their style seems to evolve with each record. They are coming off an LP that was super slick with a very ’80s vibe to it but the new record brings them back to the present with highly digitized groove metal. The album is still slick, which pretty much goes with the territory if you’re making this type of music but while choruses tend to have clean singing and harmony, verses bring out the menacing growls and harsh riffs.

The first listen to God Is An Automaton didn’t really hit me right but each listen afterward got better and better. I really like “Red Nova Ignition” which is a great example of what this album is about – super groovy but still harsh with some challenging djent-like riffs. “Hightech Versus Lowlife” slows the tempo down into a dark groove while “Posthuman Manifesto” is simply a ball of high-powered energy.

As I started out with, I don’t know the scene well enough to compare it to other bands in it but God Is An Automaton did intrigue me way more than I would have expected.

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Album: Indesinence, Vessels of Light and Decay
Label: Profound Lore
Release: October 16, 2012
Genre: Doom/Death Metal
Rating: 8/10

After numerous listens, an oddball record like this one is turning into a favorite of mine. Indesinence have been part of the UK underground metal scene for more than a decade now which their two album output certainly doesn’t reflect. The London quartet creates immense doom tracks with death metal undertones and like the title of the album indicates, many moments of both light and decay.

“Communion” brings a full on death metal assault but the real pleasures on this album are the 14 minute tracks like “Paradigms” and “Fade (Further Beyond).” At 14:48 “Fade” has every element of the group’s sound rolled up in a fantastic track. Slow, plodding doom. Menacing growls. Speedy, brutal riffing, atmospheric interludes and probably a half dozen style changes throughout the track to keep it from becoming a bore.

The artwork actually paints the picture of the record perfectly. The little kid peering around into the light but the reaper attempting to sway him into the darkness. For every moment of atmosphere and hope on the record there’s three others that reflect dreams of darkness and despair.

At an hour and two minutes, it’s a bit of a long record but since it’s unlike a typical doom album, it’s definitely worth a listen or two.

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Albums currently on the potential ten best of 2012 list:
Baroness, Yellow & Green
Christian Mistress, Possession
Denial of God, Death and the Beyond
Deserted Fear, My Empire
Forgotten Tomb, …and Don’t Deliver Us From Evil
Goatwhore, Blood for the Master
Human Toilet, Human Toilet
Jorn, Bring Heavy Rock To the Land
Kadavar, Kadavar
Korpiklaani, Manala
Mongrels Cross, The Sins of Aquarius
OSI, Fire Make Thunder
Satanic Bloodspraying, At the Mercy of Satan
Terrorizer, Hordes of Chaos
Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Alter
Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Primum
Winterfylleth, The Threnody of Triumph
Woods of Ypres, Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light

About the Author

Dave Steed

Dave Steed is all about music; 80's and metal to be exact. His iPod will shuffle from Culture Club to Slayer and he won't blink an eye. He's never heard Astral Weeks but thinks "Dazzey Duks" by Duice is the bomb. It's an odd little corner of the world he lives in.

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