REVIEW: Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement


FORGOTTEN TOMB is an Italian doom/black metal band established in 1999 as Herr Morbid’s solo project, shortly after developing into a four-piece line up that has only slightly changed throughout the years.

The band has released its tenth album, ”Nihilistic Estrangement,” on 8 May 2020 via Agonia Records.

One thing to point out to anyone who’s not familiar with FORGOTTEN TOMB is the band’s ability to evolve while mantaining a significant trademark sound. From the very beginning in 2002 on the debut album, ”Songs to Leave,” (considered to be the cornerstone of the subgenre known as depressive suicidal black metal) until today with ”Nihilistic Estrangement,” a guiding thread is detectable when it comes to lyrical themes, riffing style, and a distinctive combination of complexity and straightforwardness, but at the same time it’s not easy to define which extreme metal subgenre the band belongs to, since thinking outside the box has always been one of FORGOTTEN TOMB’s sound pillars.

Nihilistic Estrangement” encloses all of the evolutionary stages FORGOTTEN TOMB has been through, but with a new and deeper awareness of their own potential and the certainty of being quite far from any settled trend in metal music. In this regard, the choice to record the album in analog by using vintage equipment from the 60s and 70s was a conscious decision based on a desire to stand out from the over-produced mass of today’s albums. As such, ”Nihilistic Estrangement” seems to be very interesting on many levels.

The opening track, ”Active Shooter,” immediately recalls the band’s previous album, ”We Owe You Nothing,” thanks to its strong sludge metal vibe and riffing, while in the second part of the song, the dark and melodic attitude that has always been the band’s signature kicks in, making the tune multilayered but also quite direct.

The following two tracks, ”Iris’ House pt. I” and ”Iris’ House pt. II” can be considered as a mini-concept; the title refers to a nursing home located in the singer’s hometown where people with a terminal disease receive palliative care. If someone ends up there, it’s because they’re expected to die within a matter of months. A sense of hopelessness is almost touchable in the songs’ general atmosphere – ”Iris’ House pt. I” closely resembles ALICE IN CHAINS’ early days, especially in the guitar work and in the spoken-word part, but there’s also a lot of the typical FORGOTTEN TOMB gloomy and melancholic approach, especially in regard to the guitar solo. ”Iris’ House pt. II” shows a doom attitude with a more black metal -oriented twist just before the outro. Both of the lyrics are about this hallucinated trip through the awareness of death, of dying alone, defeated by your own demons.

Track number four, ”Distrust3,” is an explicit hymn to misanthropy, where the band reaps the fruit of a solid reputation in terms of groove, but also manages to reinvent their own trademark sound thanks to a catchy riff and a black ‘n’ roll-ish vibe. The title track, ”Nihilistic Estrangement,” is an evocative and dreamy description of an escape from reality, where FORGOTTEN TOMB combines their past and present approaches towards music as an undisputed sign of artistic maturity.

Concluding the album, ”RBMK” – the title of which is a clear referral to the nuclear reactor of Chernobyl – is an homage to old school black metal from the 90s, when furious riffs and uncompromising fast-paced drums were the key elements. The lyrics describe a situation that sounds incredibly similar to the one humankind is facing right now: the untimely end is here and none will survive.

In other words, ”Nihilistic Estrangement” is a very good album. Consistency and solidity are well expressed through the arrangements and the production choices and FORGOTTEN TOMB, as a band, achieves the goal of bringing their multifaceted personal sound to the next level.

Written by Licia Mapelli


  1. Active Shooter
  2. Iris’ House pt. I
  3. Iris’ House pt. II
  4. Distrust3
  5. Nihilistic Estrangement
  6. RBMK


Ferdinando “HM” Marchisio – vocals, guitars
Alessandro “ALGOL” Comerio – bass
Kyoo Nam “ASHER” Rossi – drums


Agonia Records


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