Interview with Herr Morbid vocalist, guitarist for Forgotten Tomb done by Patrick August 2011

Here is a brand new interview with one of Italy's Best bands. Combining the best of dark death, black and even some touches of doom for a sound all their own! If you have not yet heard the bands latest release "Under Saturn Retrograde" you are missing a true gem definitely get this as soon as possible.

Enjoy the interview, and thanks to all who take the time to check out some Canadian Assault sickness!



Hello how is life in Italy this week? Please introduce yourself to the readers.

HM: Hi there. This week in Italy there's a fucked up weather, kinda cold for being the middle of summer, and I got ill. There's not much to do around the dead city where I live, besides doing some barbecue in the backyard, drinking beer and taking care of the band 'stuff. I'm the boss of the band called Forgotten Tomb and I go by the nickname of Herr Morbid. I write most of the band's material, play guitar and sing.

When did you and the other members form forgotten tomb? What is the "current" line-up? For the readers who have never heard Forgotten Tomb how would you describe the bands music?

HM: There has always been a biography of the band on its official myspace and Facebook pages and it's still there. Of course we had to shorten it and make a sum of our career because we exist since 12 years now and if we would exactly write down all the things we've done each year the biography would become long as a fucking book, and no one would read it! Also, I think that if a Black and/or Doom Metal fan doesn't know the band yet, he probably
lived under a rock for the latest 12 years or so, heheh. Btw we did 6 full-length albums, titles are: "Songs To Leave" (2002), "Springtime Depression" (2003), "Love's Burial Ground" (2004), "Negative Megalomania" (2007), "Vol 5: 1999/2009" (2010, live in studio), "Under Saturn Retrograde" (2011). I started this band to create obscure and death-glorifying music, and I'm still doing it after all these years. Of course a lot of things happened both in my life and music, surely the way to portray certain feelings has changed and evolved over the years, but all in all I think I managed to remain faithful to my ideas and attitude. The trademark elements that we created with our early albums are still part of our music, though every album sounds a bit different so it's difficult to describe our music. But we are known for being among the originators of the so-called "Depressive Black Metal" genre. Let's say that if you like a very cold and eerie style of Black Metal mixed with Doom elements, Dark-wave elements and Rock influences, all done with a good sounding production, then you should like more or less all of our albums. The band started out as a one-man band in 1999 but it became a full-band since mid-2003, and the line-up remained the same up to this day.

The band recently released it's 4th masterpiece "Under Saturn Retrograde" how long did it take the band to write and record the songs for this release? Are you and other members of the band happy with how it turned out? How has response been from the fans and press?

HM: Music for the new album has been written in different moments over 3 years but there's some stuff that was written even years before and then rearranged and reworked later... It was quite a long process. I am the only composer of lyrics and music on this album. I also arranged all instruments' scores. The recording-process, as well as the mix and mastering, were done
in separate sessions between August 2010 and January 2011. I think we probably took a bit too much time to release this new album, but this time was necessary to make sure we were releasing a competitive, over-the-top album. I rewrote and rearranged some of the songs several times, until I found out the perfect way to give the album the feeling I had in mind.

Also, we had many things to do in the meantime with the release of the "Vol 5: 1999/2009" album, live-shows, the record label change and other things that had to be taken care of to lift the band to a more professional level and make a proper and more effective return to the scenes, you know. Everything was done carefully this time and it shows. The result fully satisfies me and the whole band, because it strongly retains the extreme Metal roots but it also includes old-fashioned Dark Wave influences and more Rock-oriented stuff. I think it all blends together really well, better than on "Negative Megalomania". I think the reactions overall have been very good. Let's say 90% of press liked it and 90% of fans liked it. You know, there's always someone complaining for something on every new album we release... We can't make everyone happy. We need to be happy ourselves with what we have accomplished with a new album, in the first place. If the others like it, that's great, otherwise it means they are not ready to understand our evolution. Or they just have a different musical taste.

We are getting used to being misunderstood and ahead of trends. Most of the people start to like our albums 3 years after their actual release-date. It happened the same with the previous album, "Negative Megalomania"... It's still early though to take conclusions, the album has just been released in the USA so we're waiting for feedback from there too. Up to this day, we're pretty satisfied with the result. There's a lot of interest around the album and that's the
important thing. And above all, we are absolutely certain that the album kicks ass, so we think that who says the opposite is not really reliable. In other words, we don't give a fuck. We do what we want as we always did, and we do it better than the others. Agree or not, we just know it and that's enough for us.

When the band begins working on a new song does the whole band take part in the writing process or does one member usually handle it all?

HM: Being the main and often exclusive composer in the band, I usually record demo-tracks at home with a multitrack software and a drum-programming software. Then I handle these demos to the members of the band so they can learn the songs, and later in the rehearsal room we do the final improvements and extra-arrangements, some months prior to the recording sessions. This is the easiest and fastest way to work. We don't have the chance to practice together very often due to the distance between each others, so that's the best way to keep up the pace of the work when we have to prepare the new songs.

Who usually handles the lyrics, what are some topics/subjects the band writes about?

HM: I'm the author of the lyrics/concept of the band. Everyday' life and my hate towards the whole world are the main sources of inspiration. If you read all my lyrics since the beginning of the band you'll notice they changed and evolved. But of course I don't like a lot of things in life and society, and I'm basically a very negative and pessimistic person. The "leit-motiv" of my lyrics is more or less always the same. Obviously over the years people grow up and evolve, though I always believed in what I said over the years and I don't regret it. The glorification of negativity, death, hatred, pessimism, cynicism, homicide, suicide, abuse and in general of everything that is helpful to destroy human happiness and life is a recurring theme of our albums and imagery, now more than ever.

I can still relate to some of the old lyrics though I absolutely don't relate to others. I'm still totally into the negativity of my old lyrics but I think some personal things should have been kept to myself exclusively. In the past some fans just used some of my lyrics as some sort of relief from their personal problems, but I never wanted this to happen. I've been totally misunderstood. I refer especially to the "Songs To Leave" album. I don't want to help people, my lyrics are not propedeuthic. I want to destroy people, I want them to increase their suffering and do harm to themselves and to others. That's why my lyrics have changed over the years. I don't wanna write for myself exclusively, I want the message to be loud and clear to all my listeners. I'm not here to save people, since I can't even save myself. I'd rather drag you all in the grave with me.

Does the band have any upcoming shows or tours in support of "Under Saturn Retrograde"? Or do you prefer to only keep forgotten tomb in the studio?

HM: The band has always played live since 2003 and we'll keep on doing it. We'll play a few summer festivals and then we'll see what happens this autumn. I hope and I guess that we'll do some tour, play additional scattered gigs and play some autumn/winter club-festivals. Our aim is to play live as much as possible. There are some serious plans going on though I can't reveal anything at the moment. But I think you'll see us playing around quite often between September and December. We got 8 shows confirmed already between the end of August and the end of October, but we should add other 10 shows in November. We'll see what happens!

The band comes out of the mighty Italian scene. I have been a fan of the Italian metal scene for a few years now. So I was curious what is your opinion of Italy's metal scene? Who are some of your all-time favorite Italian bands? Are their any new upcoming bands from Italy you think the readers should watch out for?

HM: Usually I'm very negative regarding the current "scene" and to be honest I don't follow very much what's going on these days. There is some good stuff happening but I'm not very interested in it. I'm an old-fashioned guy, I like the older italian stuff, probably because I was part of the old scene myself. I know there's a bit of nostalgia in it, but I can't help it, hehe. I think nowadays the technical level of most of the young bands is higher than it was in the '90s for instance, but the spirit got lost in my opinion. The excessive use of the Internet destroyed the dark, underground atmosphere. Of course Internet has been really useful for everyone and I
definitely acknowledge the fact that even FT probably wouldn't be where it is today without the help of the Internet, but I started playing this genre before the Internet was so popular and I was already used to work out things in the old way, you know. Internet has been helpful and made some things easier but I could have survived without it, you know. Young bands would be lost without the Internet 'cause they grew up with it since they were kids.

I grew up with the Commodore 64, the VHS tapes, the vinyls and the audio-cassettes, if you know what I mean! And I still love those things. I relate better with those coming from the old days. By the way, to answer your question, some of the old italian bands that you should check out are: Funeral Oration, Antropofagus, Death SS, Mortuary Drape, Necromass, Deathrage, Bulldozer, Hiems, Sacrater (my old band), Frozen, Dunkel Nacht, Handful Of Hate, Inchiuvatu, Khephra, Maldoror, Mortifier, Mondocane, Necrodeath, Schizo, Aborym, Sinoath, Satanel, Cripple Bastards, Tragoidia, Altar Of Perversion, just to name a few... Some of them are still active, others are not, though they're all worth checking out. Regarding more or less recent bands, other good stuff is Beatrik, Tenebrae In Perpetuum, Whiskey Ritual, Frangar, The Tombers, Elitaria, Spite Extreme Wing, Janvs, The Second Coming, Inner, Caronte, Tombstone Highway (my Southern Metal band), Viscera///, Malfeitor, The Secret and a lot of other bands that I can't remember...

Are you or any of the members currently working on any side-projects or bands? If yes please tell the readers a little about them.

HM: I play in another band called Tombstone Highway. We play Southern Hard Rock/Metal. We just recorded a full-length and we'll hopefully release it before the end of 2011. Really neat stuff. Our bass-player Algol plays with his one-man band Hiems. Our drummer Asher plays in Whiskey Ritual. Both bands rock hard!

You handle the vocals for the band at what age did you start singing? Who are some of your favorite vocalists? Do you do anything special to keep your throat/voice healthy?

HM: I started singing when I was 13/14 years old. In the beginning I practiced on the old Hard Rock or Thrash Metal classics, you know. That's probably why I can still sing decently with clean vocals. Then after a while I started trying the scream-vocals and more brutal stuff. The first brutal singers influencing my style were John Tardy of Obituary and Jeff Walker of
Carcass. Then I moved forward to the Black Metal singing, and Varg Vikernes (Burzum), Dead & Attila Csihar (Mayhem) were among my favourites. Btw among my favourites singers ever (besides Extreme Metal) I should also mention Layne Staley, Dax Riggs, Phil Anselmo, Bon Scott, David Coverdale, Glenn Danzig, Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Steele, Ian Astbury, Nick Holmes, Keith Caputo, Scott "Wino" Weinrich... I don't do anything special to keep my vocals in shape, though they're still working pretty good I think. I smoke only once in a while and I mostly drink beer, so they're not affecting my vocals too much. But I think the best way to keep the throat in shape is singing at the rehearsals every week. Also, hot tea is great before the shows.

You also play guitars for the band at what age did you start playing the guitars? Are you self-taught or have you taken lessons in the past? Who are some of your influences/favorite guitarist?

HM: I started when I was 13. I'm self-taught. I learned playing at home along the old classics and afterwards playing with garage bands, you know. I think I'm quite a solid rhythm-guitar player, though I'm not very technical. I'm also good at doing fucked-up arpeggios! That's one of the trademarks of FT, in fact all people trying to play our songs for the first time experience big difficulties. I'm pretty good at using slide/bottleneck, I use it a lot with my Southern Rock band. I'm not much into leads, though I can handle some, mostly blues-oriented licks, penthatonics and Zakk Wylde-influenced licks. He's probably my favourite guitar-player ever, together with Tomi Iommi, Angus Young, Tom G. Warrior, Billy Duffy, Jimi Hendrix, Greg Mackintosh and some others. All very different guitar-players but very creative and good at what they do. For the Southern-Rock slide-guitar stuff, of course the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd are among my favourites.

Besides playing guitars and singing do you play any other instruments? If yes which ones?

HM: I played bass for quite some years in a Death Metal band and I was getting very good at it, all finger-style and extremely fast. But I needed to handle guitar with FT so I focused definitively on the guitar afterwards. I can still play the bass pretty good though. I can handle a bit of drums but I should practice a lot. I mean, I could not absolutely play drums in a band at the current stage! I was able to play the flute when I was a kid but I don't remember how to play it anymore.

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview we have reached the end. Do you have any final comments for the readers before we end?

HM: Thanx for the interview. I'm working on the re-releases of our old albums, to be out this fall. We're also going to release very soon (in September) a split 7" with italian band Whiskey Ritual. Both bands will cover 3 songs each by GG Allin. It's gonna be a cool release. Then we'll
play live in Europe quite a lot so don't miss our shows! Follow us on Facebook, myspace, Reverbnation and official website (online soon). Stay Negative.



The Forgotten Tomb Discography 

Obscura Arcana Mortis EP, 2000

Songs To Leave Full Length, 2002

Springtime Depression Full Length, 2003

Love's Burial Ground Full Length, 2004

Negative Megalomania Full-length, 2007

Vol. 5 1999-2009 Compilation Album, 2010

Under Saturn Retrograde Full-length, 2011



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