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Carach Angren have succeeded in crafting a record that not only excels in terms of instrumental excellence, but also in the creation of such a vivid and dark atmosphere that it seems as if light itself may be extinguished. In terms of musicianship, “Where the Corpses Sink Forever” (WCSF) maintains a high standard of excellence and consistency throughout, with vocalist Dennis “Seregor” Droomers being the standout positive.
Having the vices and virtues of both classical symphonic music and black metal at your disposal gives you potential in terms of emotional and atmospheric medium rivaled by few other musical styles. However Carach Angren have not let their music become unfocused or convoluted as a result of the marriage of two separate genres. The steely bleakness of black metal is used to great effect in supporting the beautifully sombre, and at times, frightful symphonic passages and vice versa. Opening track (not including the intro) “Lingering in an Imprint Haunting” immediately displays this with a chilling introduction of violins and piano that performs in tandem with the band proper to bring to life a dark and depressing, yet equally beautiful artwork. As well as providing vocals, Seregor charges forward with cold and sharp black metal riffs whilst also employing intelligent melody here and there. The bass (also handled my Seregor) remains largely pedestrian, yet this surprisingly doesn't take away from the music at all. Drummer Ivo “Namtar” Wijers rarely explores or innovates past the tried and tested black metal drumming style, yet uses it very intelligently allowing him to take a back seat to the vocals, symphony and guitars.
Vocalist Seregor is the clear cut highlight of WCSF. He stands apart from the vast majority of his peers by being album to not only possesses a pure and visceral “classic” shriek, but also having nearly flawless articulation along with it. As well as his voice and articulation, Seregor’s lyrics are able to breathe life into the bleak and cold instrumentation with passages such as ''Little Hector, what have you done?''
The strikingly theatrical nature of the lyrics coupled with the almost perfect pronunciation allows you to lose yourself within this record and bask in its beautiful depressiveness.
Many metal bands have used symphony as a gimmicky tool to get popular with those less initiated in extreme music. Yet what Carach Angren have done is use both black metal and classical symphony in a way where both support the strengths of the other. With standout lyrics, vocals and overall excellent instrumentation these Dutch metallers have crafted an incredibly vivid and atmospheric album that avoids feeling generic and forced, and instead invokes a truly nightmarish yet beautiful mental scene that will remain a memorable experience for all those that open themselves to it.
Carach Angren, the haunting export of the Netherlands return with their third album, 'Where the Corpses Sink Forever', as with all their releases it tells a horror story. This time, the band took it upon themselves to write their own story, telling of war horrors, suicides and cannibalism. Conveying this story through a unique brand of symphonic black metal, this album could possibly be the best output from the band yet.
Vocally, Seregor has a great voice for the purposes, his harsh shrieks and growls are managed so as the lyrics can still be understood through the harsh barrage, his range is reasonable, flitting between high rasps and low death growls. Lyrically, he is no poet, but his lyrics convey the story of the album well-enough for the purposes, for example, some from 'The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist':
'Listen! Don't you hear these mad symphonies of grievance and fear?
Melancholy and despair can be sensed when we draw near.
Some hear a violin sound, others hear a man moaning in tears.
These fields are haunted by nature's most sombre melodies.
Suicidal white noise absorbing the essence from light, mirth and vitality.
These grounds are haunted by reflections from World War II...'
Not quite poetry, but the story is conveyed, which is all that is needed from them.
Instrumentally, the album does a beautiful blend of classical, baroque symphonies of strings, piano, brass, beautifully composed to contrast with the heavy, fast, pounding black metal side, heavy, technical, flowing riffs and tremolo melodies, alongside heavy, fast aggressive blast beats and pounding patterns. The songs evolve beautifully as the they progress, never staying on one riff or melody for long, constantly changing, and never sounding forced, simply flowing as it progresses, making the songs much more interesting and engaging. This album maintains a fair whirlwind speed, rarely going slow at all, maintaining a fair pace throughout, though never getting boring at the speed. All the instruments are played brilliantly as well, all the musicians clearly adept at their parts, the riffs are complex and executed perfectly, the compositions orchestrated perfectly, the keys are technical, and the drums are fast, complex and unrelenting.
What Carach Angren also do, something that many symphonic black metal bands fail in, is finding the perfect balance between symphony and band, an example of this failing would be on Dimmu Borgir's album 'Abrahadabra' where the orchestration took over, and the band sounded like they were featuring, rather than the focus. Carach Angren find this balance perfectly, and stick to it, with melodic orchestration finding its place in the songs, but never becoming too much, the band are always the focus of the tracks.
What this album does successfully is create a dark atmosphere, where all the elements come together to create what makes Carach Angren special, and that is the haunting atmosphere that they create with their storytelling style of symphonic black metal. I'd highly recommend this album to anyone who counts themselves as a black metal fan, or even as a gateway for people wanting to get into black metal.
bitte töte mich!
Carach Angren is one of those bands I couldn't ever imagine letting me down, alongside with Dream Theater, Hollentho, Opeth, etc. Their "Lammendam" and "Death Came..." masterpieces where so amazingly well written, that I couldn't believe that their so intensely promoted "Where the Corpses Sink Forever" turned out so far away from my expectations. After so much waiting and checking their facebook profile waiting for the first song, I expected the album to be a glorious masterpiece.
I first listened to their new release while playing a FPS, since usually I really enjoy shooting stuff while having Carach Angren as background music. After the album was over, I realized nothing caught my hearing. Nothing at all, the album seemed extremely boring, uninteresting. So I listened it some more times, this time focusing solely on the music and lyrical concept. This time, I fell in love with "The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist", the song I still like most from the recording, while "Lingering in an Imprint Haunting" (which I had already listened prior to the release of the album) comes second in my preferences. The melancholic, beautiful violin lead backed by the blast beat is my favorite part of this album, but I found the tapped riff from "Lingering..." also attractive. The rest of the songs have nothing to draw my attention, so i simply take them as background music.
Musically, this album is poor; I tend to place it amongst their early 2004 and 2005 demos. It sounds as if it was written in a kind of "rush" to deliver the product on time, and it's the details that I miss. While it sounds as a combination between the demos and Lammendam or Death Came Through A Phantom Ship, it lacks the epic and bombastic orchestral compositions featured in their first two full length works. At times, the songs simply don't seem to fit with one another, and the riffs seem thrown and mixed in one single track. "Sir John", "Bitte Totet Mich" and "Little Hector" (especially the last of them) are poorly written, and make no impression whatsoever. Also, the quality of this recording is awful (as good as their demos).
Lyrically, the album is filled with senseless violence, suicides, murders, killings, suicides, deaths, killings again and suicides again. And to conclude, we end up with a wonderful tale about suicides. For a band that puts so much emphasis on the storytelling this is disappointing. When compared to the stories from the earlier recordings, these lyrics stand out as rubbish; they have nothing! I am sure that if you drink a shot of vodka every time somebody dies/kills self/kills someone, you are dead drunk before the 6th song. The only cool thing is the "vicious circle" concept, the intro and the outro converge into one another and the circle is unbreakable.
Overall, this album is NOT bad. It's fairly decent. If it hadn't been so anticipated and waited for, I'd have rated it a 7 or maybe 7,5, but since it was just a great letdown, I rate it a 6, since "The Funerary Dirge..." is one hell of a track! I recommend this album and still think it is ok, but nowhere near what I had been waiting for.
There were two reasons why I was particularly interested in reviewing this one: first, even though it’s complicated to explain, I’ve always found a very special kind of beauty, elegance and majesty in black metal. In fact, those hidden aspects are the main factor why I like black metal at all. In that department, I believe Carach Angren from Netherlands to be an illustrative example, and I realized that by listening to their previous record, “Death came through a phantom ship”, which is a killer album. That’s my second reason, by the way. Having listened to that jewel is enough motives to really feel like checking out whatever these fucks release.
The problem of having released such a monster two years ago is that “Where the corpses sink forever” truly had a hard time being compared to it. To be honest, at first I wasn’t able to judge it objectively, and I was like this from throwing it aside. Good thing I didn’t; once one manages to understand it as a separate piece of work, then it’s finally possible to appreciate it clearly.
Something brought up almost instantly is songwriting as the strongest ace up CA’s sleeve. Going over the songs makes great trip through mysterious passages that go from the darkest and raw form of black metal, to the bizarre, rather odd interludes that prevent tracks from being predictable. Again, the final sound here, or at least the one that remained most audible after the mixing and producing, is quite cinematographic, probably due to the important role orchestral keyboards have and hold through the whole record.
Another distinctive characteristic is vocals. Instead of “singing a song”, Seregon goes for a sort of recitation in most songs. He declaims the lyrics in some cases, and in some others recites the script of a theatrical monologue. Although interesting and consistent and hell, vocals work against catchiness. Such a damned shame!
In general, I found much of an interesting record here, quite artistic shit, that’s for sure. Yet maybe it’s too pretentious and elaborate. At the end of the day, all extreme sub-genres are now looking for different elements and sounds that can strengthen their work, as if that were possible, and at the juncture experiments will keep failing and succeeding.
Originally written for www.globaldomination.se
Carach Angren are a symphonic black metal band from the Netherlands. Where the Corpses Sink Forever, which came out in May, is their third full-length album. I happened upon it purely by chance, having never heard of the band before.
To explain what this album is, I feel I should first point out what it is not. It is not Dimmu Borgir, with obvious, superficial slabs of faux-classical orchestration and a clear aim to be the darkest thing on Total Request Live. Nor is it Emperor, with cold Norwegian hostility interspersed with atmospheric keyboards. No, this is something totally different.
Rather than pulling the symphonic side of their music from the vein of classical or romantic symphonies, this instead plays more like a ballet. That delicate, narrative sensibility never really leaves the music, even in the parts where black metal takes center stage. This is a concept album, going through a series of killings and hauntings, and the masterful composition pulls the whole thing together like the purely auditory equivalent of watching a sinister stage production.
The black metal aspects of this record, unsurprisingly, are not the purist's ideal. They are a part of the whole, intense and effective, but always augmented by swirling organs, violins, or some other aspect of the larger compositional framework. The vocal work is surprisingly articulate in its harsh forms, and clean vocals crop up periodically as well, allowing the listener to follow the lyrical themes of the record quite easily.
As far as those lyrics go, there is a bit of a tendency toward melodrama. The excessively dreary, suicide/murder/haunting/misery emphasis of the whole affair is admittedly a bit too goth for my taste. The music is so well constructed, though, that I can't help admiring the skill that went into composing these tracks.
(Originally posted on: beardsetc.blogspot.com)
The limits of metal are being expanded as we know it, all thanks to bands such as the three piece Carach Angren. Breaking barriers. Reaching higher levels. Simply expanding what can be done through music. It is obvious that Carach Angren knows what they are doing. Being highly influenced by classical music, this symphonic black metal band is superiorly advanced.
When writing about Carach Angren, the subject of lyrics becomes more relevant to the group's music than most bands. Instead of your typical black/death lyrical themes such as, "hail satan", "I slaughter them with laughter", or "poor me, the world is gonna end" etc. etc. etc... Carach Angren goes deeper in their lyrical writing process in the sense that a lot of the music is written and based solely on the lyrics. There is a mood. This group dedicates everything they have to making the music, subjects, and lyrics fit together perfectly, and that they do. That they fucking do.
There are parts on the album in which one can feel as though he is witnessing an event on the CD first hand. The tracks are like scenes from an act, and can make the listener envision what the lyricist is screaming and singing about. This is an extremely captive technique. Really involving the listener, making them believe there is something more happening than just a song playing. Even if one can not understand the lyrics, the techniques used with the vocals are extremely methodical and can give you a really good idea of what is happening at that given point in the track.
Based on a black metal structure, Seregor's voice is uncontrolled and harsh, yet controlled and distinguishable! I do also believe he puked up a small amount of bile in the ending seconds of Bitte Tötet Mich. He even laughs psychotically several times throughout the album. I did not think this vocalist had room for improvement, that was until I heard his elements on this CD. Vocal range-wise, "General Nightmare" is most impressive. It also contains the fastest shreds on the entire album. Listen to it, now!
There are moments in which the guitar-work can dominate and shine. It can also appear faint and as background music at times, but when the guitar shows up as the primary sound, it kills. There is always surprising drumming to support the progress and flow too. His name is Namtar, and he is a professional drumming machine! In the track "Little Hector What Have You Done?", there is a part in which just eight speedy snare beats are thrown in unexpectedly. Rapid, fierce, and appropriate. Whether it be a blast supporting a quick movement, or a light tap on a symbol supporting a more mellow movement, the drums fit.
The keyboards are predominant most of the time, which is the great thing about this music. It is entirely obvious Ardek is not using default sounds. Noticeably, he has spent countless hours searching through sound banks and tweaking effects in search of the best-suited symphonic match-up. For example, the keys have a hallow sound around 1:28 in Bitte Tötet Mich. Also, the tones can appear to be off key at times, and this is because they are, intentionally! It is these small efforts that make the music dramatic and entertaining. The band invites a violinist in for a few tracks on this album as well.
Every song is another set from the act, or the next chapter in the book. There are several different interpretations of the same scenario in the track "Little Hector What Have You Done?". What is this album about? Carach Angren keeps the listener guessing and creating their own concept and plot of what the album is actually about. At least we know it is based on the subject of war. I do not foresee Carach Angren selling out in any form or drifting away from their unique style of composing dark, theatrical, story-based metal. Fans of In Flames are scared of this music.
Suggested tracks: General Nightmare, Sir John, The Funerary Dirge of The Violinist
Carach Angren is the band which proves that black metal is really art. They mix up classical music and black metal so masterfully that I even start to think that they follow footsteps of Beethoven and Bach, and even outdoes them at their own game.
When I heard their first album, 'Lammendam', I became an instant fan. And as a true fan, I couldn't stop waiting for their new material. Finally when this album got out, I bought it at once and in the dark night I turned it on... Then it all started: 'the seven grinned and seven horrible visions of war, one by one, captured my soul..."
'Where The Corpses Sink Forever' starts with opening track, ' An Ominous Recording'. It seems that they have tradition to start album with track which will evoke all the dark emotions from the deep of human soul. Track like this was in their both, previous albums, 'Het Spook van de Leiffartshof' from 'Lammendam' and 'Electronic Voice Phenomena' from 'Death Came Through A Phantom Ship'. It may seem like that they use same trick in all the albums, but every 'trick' is quietly different from each other and to be honest, without them their albums would partly lose attractiveness.
After the intro comes song 'Lingering In an Imprint Haunting'. The second tracks from the previous albums started with whole sound of guitars, drums and violins. Here this track has beautiful, yet sinister intro with violins. For me the best track in this album is 'The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist'. It is the longest too. This song express the atmosphere of WWII and it's powerful riffs make my soul tremble. About atmosphere: you will feel yourself in the Poland, at the front-line, somewhere in the middle of the song, where every instrument will numb and Ardek will play masterfully his 'breath-taking melodies'. Piano and violin will make you feel like soldier during the war, fighting for motherland and for your own life...
Every song here has something that gives them right to stand out of each other. You will never have right to think that every track here sounds the same, not for even a second. The guitar riffs are different, but still 'symphonic-blacky', drums became even faster, in comparison with previous albums. You will be able to hear more and more blast beats. Vocals were upgraded too. They made interesting mixture of rasp and growl. It makes their songs sound darker and more haunting...
What I don't like here is the outro of the last track, 'These Fields are Lurking (Seven Pairs of Demon Eyes)'. In previous albums, haunting melodies of violins were surrounded with guitars and drums. These last ones were repeating same riff, while violin was making 'ghosty' atmosphere. Here, violin sounds haunting as in previous albums, but problem is that no guitars or drums can be heard along with violin. Well, maybe with this step they move closer to the classical music, but this also makes the move far from black metal. Despite of this, they made interesting, soul-tearing cry in the end, which maybe will compensate guitars and drums.
Also you will here soul-decapitating bridge-track, which will move you on battlefield, where 'ghostly cavalry regiments ride the lands they'd once destroyed'. And, at last, I'm disappointed a little with the lyrics. In previous albums, they were singing about ghost stories, it became their image, but here they sing about tragedies from WWII. Well, this also satisfies me, but here is no concept, story starts in a song, and ends in that exact song. Every song has it's own story, they aren't connected to each other.
While listening, I feel that this album will never end. When the last track ends, the first one starts. Last track is connected to first track and this makes this album a circle. In the song, 'These Fields are Lurking (Seven Pairs of Demon Eyes)', lyrics are about an executioner, who left 'An Ominous Recording'. When the song ends and before the outro starts, there is a fragment from the first track. It brings listener desire to listen to this album again.
I can proudly say, that I'm happy with that release. I think that 'Where The Corpses Sink Forever', along with 'Grand Guignol - Book I' by Dark End are the best symphonic black metal album of 2012, and Carach Angren is the biggest gift to the symphonic black metal scene. Every self-respected fan of symphonic black metal should have this album. Love to this band will come by itself after the first listen. As was said above, this is not a ordinal black metal album, this is a piece of art. It deserves so much work to create something like this that a mortal man can't even imagine it, a mortal man can just sit and enjoy this superb album.
Symphonic black metal. Truly an exceedingly popular genre around the turn of the century, the more inspired input within this realm has slowly stagnated, filling to the brim with unimpressive, uncreative acts that have done little more than incestuously fondle the bigger names. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s not often that a new project comes along that is really worth taking note of. It’s even rarer that said project skyrockets very early in their career to the midst of the well-known titans, and beyond that, using their own unique twist on established formula and aesthetic archetypes. However, one such band has slogged its way out of the quagmire of average efforts, pulled itself out of the swamp, and built a fucking castle right in the thick of it, peeking even above some of the taller trees. Enter Carach Angren. Enter innovation.
Where the Corpses Sink Forever is the third album by these corpse-painted Netherlanders, and delivers on the promise of the last two with eloquent ferocity, an ever ascending level of quality that has yet to top out, poking out above every other young symphonic black metal act today. And symphonic this is, the majority of the leads and melodies, not to mention the tense, palpable atmosphere, stemming from Ardek and his spine-chilling work on the keys. This is a collection of gruesome, poignant stories pertaining to the horrors of war, each one wrapped in layers of orchestration that infuse the music with a ghastly beauty, a poignant counterpoint to the natural ugliness of the lyrical matter. The guitars, and especially drums, are themselves also quite strong, but they act as supporting role for the dark, soulful classical elements.
Some tracks here cut deeper than others, but this album is meant to be taken in as a whole, digesting the myriad visions and reveling in the splendorous horror. The most unsettling of these are unbelievably potent, their ghastly portrait of humanity digging deep, clawing into your psyche. Bitte Totet Mich is a litany of failed suicide and a spiral of insanity; Sir John, a tale of a cannibalistic surgeon, sinking into madness as he does what he can to live; Little Hector What Have You Done?, a self-fulfilling prophecy of familial carnage… The most poignant of these is The Funerary Dirge of the Violinist, perhaps the single most beautiful song I’ve heard this year, a gentle symphony of life being silenced by the dissonant notes of death.
Unlike the lyrics typical to your average extreme metal album, these are legitimately frightful, but due to atmosphere and believability rather than sick detail. This is the antithesis to b-movie Cannibal Corpse musings, and they’re so penetrating because these painted situations are so possible, rooted in psychology and the breaking of the human spirit. Carach Angren make these stories feel real through their achingly expressive music, and as humans, we resonate with these scenarios, as we recognize our own potential for madness. This is an insightful and untamed peek into the twisted war consciousness, and they have achieved a sense of real, tangible darkness with this technique, far more so than most satan-worshipping, frost-dwelling bands could ever achieve.
The way they construct their songs reminds me, in essence, of Cattle Decapitation, as odd as that sounds. Each of them, this year, have deconstructed their parent genres and reformed them into something new, inspired, and compelling. Unlike that vortex of filth, though, Where the Corpses Sink Forever has a more refined, classical beauty to it, an altogether different vibe than any other band of this ilk I’ve yet experienced, though it utilizes much the same base elements. Not every moment screams out as a masterpiece, granted, and I feel more drawn to some tracks than others, but there are some truly unforgettable moments here, and the compositions are varied enough as to not feel repetitious. Carach Angren’s unique approach to symphonic black metal is a much-needed reinvigoration for this style, with the pomp and beauty of classical music firmly etched into its skin.
This album is absolutely essential for fans of anything blackened, and judging by the loud, overwhelmingly positive reaction that has surrounded it, will be making a strong showing on many years-end lists, including my own. It’s not quite consistent enough to be called a masterpiece, but when it hits, it hits fucking hard, strong enough to make its mark on the landscape, and firmly instill a lot of hopes on their shoulders. This is a band to watch out for, make no mistake.
-Left Hand of Dog
There's a lot of black metal out in the metal world, particularly in the European scene, but there are very few that can actually capture the listener and grip the souls of the audience. This skill is a very rare gift and only a few bands are able to do so, Carach Angren is one of the few that capture your mind and fill it with darkness, fear, sadness and hate. They've executed this album is such a way that all the tracks become a story, you can't stop at the middle of the album but you must go all the way through the track list, no matter what, in order to feel truly satisfied with this instalment.
The album opens up with the sound of rainfall and ends with the tortured cries of helpless souls, and everything in the middle consists of beautiful, symphonic black metal. Perhaps the darkest I've ever heard. Here's why: the band manage to keep a well-balanced instrumental scheme, meaning that every instrument from the guitars, pianos/synth and drums to the powerful vocals produced by Seregor all play together wonderfully. They've even recorded beautiful melodies from a professional violinist in some of the tracks, preferably "The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist" which is one of the best tracks on this instalment. Ardek's synth work is phenomenal and continues to amaze me with each listen, he's mastered the ability to play along with the speed and melodies of the guitars along with the brutality of the drums, he has the ability to make it sound good on top of that. The drums executed by Namtar are played at a reasonable speed, not too fast yet not too slow. His blast beats fit well with the riff work displayed and they both play well together as a whole. The guitars are perhaps the second most melodic thing next to the synth and violin work, Seregor can play some excellent tunes that really churn the emotions in your heart and soul and it really moves you. It fits well with the songs because most of them dwell on death, in fact almost the entire album itself is based on suicide which can be a touchy subject to some. The melodic solos executed can really change the mood of people, so if you suffer from serious depression and have thought of suicide, then this album may not be for you. Nevertheless, this album really pleased me and I truly think this is rightfully the metal album of the year, without a doubt.
This album is a brutal version of an audiobook, instead of hearing just words you hear music along with dark tales of death, suicide, cannibalism, war and undead soldiers. These stories are so intense that you feel as if you're encountering these experiences yourself with a heavy heart and a fogged conscience. If you should ever encounter this album on your travels, like I have, then buy it with no questions asked. You can always download it but it's always good to have a physical copy of this masterpiece.
I will claim right here at the beginning of my review for the latest Carach Angren release called Where the Corpses Sink Forever that these guys are the best black metal band out there right now. I expected much after the absolute brilliance that was And Death Came Through a Phantom Ship, and the band has not let me down, surpassing my expectation by leaps and bounds.
Always taking the subject matter of the paranormal to heart, Carach Angren twists and reshapes the medium so easily; at times I’m reminded of Mister Doctor from Devil Doll in vocalist Seregor’s delivery, which is a pretty obscure reference I know, but it fits if you look up, say, The Girl that Was Death. That said Carach Angren issues some of the finest black metal music these ears have ever heard, and seeing as I’ve been around black metal for close to 25-years it says a lot. The tracks range from casually haunting to ferociously sinister, providing a classic one-two punch to the sternum.
The album opens with a sound byte that sets the tone perfectly for the record, only to just blow over the foundation like a Joplin tornado void of feeling once “Lingering in an Imprint Haunting” begins. What is most incredible about Carach Angren is how they take the symphonic black metal tag and literally redefine the sub-genre. This band implements black metal to an absolutely perfect degree, forming visuals and creating scenarios in your mind that move along as a stunning storybook. I will further add that true thinking black metal is issued in high increments here; this is a band that cares so much about its music and the story being central to the music that they pull out all stops, dismiss all convention and create beautiful and resonating soundscapes that are beyond fascinating.
I cannot pick any one track over which to gush; this entire collective is about as majestic and enchanting as it can possibly get. The use of keyboards and orchestration is so expertly handled by Ardek that he renews my faith in those 88 little keys that are often so criminally molested and ill-used it should be illegal. The general mesmerizing that is Where the Copses Sink Forever is so serene and wonderful that I’m completely entranced into this haunting tale with veritable ease. This record assembles a spectral beauty and musical majesty that can cause even the most ardent critic to shake his or her head in amazement. From the understandable and well-enunciated lyrics, to the very bottom notes hidden under the sea of sounds, this album is precisely what today’s black metal movement is sorely missing. I’ll be honest, I think this band was about two decades late in turning over the entire movement from the bottom over, but in a vast expanse of pedestrian and rudimentary bands polluting the medium they are the shot of adrenaline we need.
One thing I can say about Carach Angren on this release and all others is that they take the symphonic element to all new heights. Often times the music sounds like a sinister and meticulous conglomerate of peripheral sounds that not only add to the theme, but help to create its wondrous aura. I’m not sure where Carach Angren found such incredible perfection, but I’ll be damned if I’ll question it. They take the concept album to avenues not defined so widely since Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, and even then it is splitting apples and oranges. This jaunt through haunted wartime imagery is precisely the vehicle needed to initiate both external and internal responses to vastly mental stimuli. What Carach Angren captures here is not just ghostly, anecdotal poetry in music; the band finds a center of illumination and pulls the listener inside with sheer talent and innate, concise imagination. I know this will be in my top ten list at year’s end, and I cannot recommend this album any higher.
(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)
The Netherlands is a country that has pumped out seemingly endless progressive metal bands with concept albums and female fronted post doom death bands. The Dutch may have found another niche to claim, as Carach Angren have released a bear of an album in the aptly named symphonic black metal genre, which is pretty much uncharted waters for their home country. Boasting nine years of experience in the sympho black genre, Carach Angren are not strangers to the scene and have now learned how to consistently make exceptionally entertaining and captivating albums: “Lammendam” and “Death Came Through a Phantom Ship” (both Carach Angren's previous albums) have garnered almost all positive reviews, and it seems that there is nothing stopping the Dutch trio.
“Where the Corpses Sink Forever” is Carach Angren's third full length album and first album for the notorious Season of Mist Records. Being in the symphonic black metal genre, one might begin to think of the Dimmu Borgir's and Alghazanth's of the world, but Carach Angren is portraying a different side of the symphonic field. Rather than utilizing densely layered keyboards and bombastic orchestral sections, Ardek (keyboards / orchestration) paints a backdrop using singular instrumentation, such as a violin or piano, backing the heavy riffing.
The guitars are pretty standard, alternating between extreme metal chugging and black metal trem picking. There are a few tasteful lead licks thrown in throughout, but the guitars definitely take a back seat to every other instrument on the album. The drums are nonstop, double bass running throughout just about the entire album. Even when all other instruments slow down, the double bass is still firing away. The drummer can definitely play fast, but speed aside, there isn't anything groundbreaking. They are quite a few sections that border on groove metal, with the chugging guitars and the maniacal drumming matching perfectly, and I highly doubt any metal head could resist the urge to head bang during these parts.
The vocals are raspy and shouted, but unlike most black metal singers, it isn't very difficult to understand what Seregor is screaming about. There are some really eerie sections, when the vocals fly solo, with only violin or drums backing the monologues. Seregor's vocals range from pissed off, angry screams to despair ridden shouts, remaining, for the most part, in the mid range. The vocals are so far in the front of the mix that it is impossible to ignore them.
Carach Angren's general song writing structure revolves around whatever story they are trying to tell. So rather than a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, standard rock style, there is a very free form feeling to the entire album. This makes for a very interesting listen, as you really can't expect what is coming next. The only problem is the unrelenting drums and constant chugging start to get a little monotonous with repeated listens. Yes, the band does slow down and let some of the orchestral sections shine through, but they are the exceptions and definitely not the norm.
Carach Angren continues to be an interesting addition to the symphonic black metal genre. “Where the Corpses Sink Forever” may not be the greatest album to ever come out, but it is enjoyable and listenable. While, Carach Angren are not reinventing the wheel here, they have released an album that a lot people should enjoy. This is highly recommended to fans of symphonic black metal and fans of extreme Gothic (a la Cradle of Filth). If you like your metal heavy, and don't mind piano and violin accoutrement, then check this out.
Written for The Metal Observer:
Carach Angren had already released a demo, an ep and two incredibly haunting and well-received full-length albums, but now after changing their record label from Maddening Media to Season of Mist, they have released yet another record.
Though that the production and the sound of Carach Angren hasn't dramatically changed, it does feel a little bit different, like maybe the guitar sound is a tiny bit less powerful. On the other hand, Namtar's drums and Ardek's orchestration don't lack any power. They actually sound stronger than on their previous album, Death Came Through A Phantom Ship. Overall, their isn't much to complain about regarding their production.
What did hit me after listening through this entire album was just how amazing everything fits each other, from the instrumental part on the fourth track to the actual riffs on Sir John. It just makes sense though that there are great differences in certain pieces in a song, and combined they work as magic.
Also, I really like it that they kept their conceptual album traditionally going. This time the album tells several stories of W.O 2, and as you can probably imagine Carach Angren is capable of writing some pretty twisted lyrics. Personally, I really enjoy the lyrics of Bitte Tötet Mich, which explains how a man tries to kill himself but fails multiple times, and Little Hector What Have You Done, which concerns just just sick and disgusting story that I'm not even going to explain.
The sphere on this record is what stuck out the most for me, not that it changed so much from their previous releases, but it just stayed on the same holy-crap factor and that's not easy to accomplish.
But now for the negative part. Though Carach Angren still wrote some nasty black metal riffs with drums and orchestration mixed with haunting symphonies. I can't seem to like the song General Nightmare, and that is very strange considering that I'm a great Carach Angren fan myself. The hooks of this song just aren't there for me. Also, the sphere just cuts off for only that particular song and the switching between singing English and French doesn't work out the way I'd want it to do. That, together with the repetitiveness of the fifth song, are the only bad things this album has to offer, because if you would like General Nightmare and Sir John, then I can't really see how you could possibly dislike this album.
All in all, I'd say that my high hopes for this album are fulfilled and that Carach Angren have a great couple of songs added to their discography. I'm already looking forward to the 4th full-length record.
A friend of mine revealed this band to me some time ago, and upon first listening to them, I found the group rather lukewarm in the music department. I certainly wasn't impressed beyond belief, and Carach Angren remained off my radar for quite some time. One day, whilst wandering the land of iTunes, the idea struck me to check out the band again. I noticed an addition to their discography in the form of Where the Corpses Sink Forever, and decided to check out the bands' most recent sonic creation. It was reminiscent of what I remembered the band to sound like, but I found the album to be strangely more memorable. The album sparked enough of my interest to listen to it in its entirety, and I actually find myself writing this review with praise I never thought I would direct towards this band. Kudos to you, Carach Angren, for making an album that is both interesting and fun to listen to in the midst of an otherwise uninspired genre.
The album intro, "An Ominous Recording", has sounds effects and atmosphere to live up to its wonderfully creepy title. A combination of rain drop sounds, piano, a voiceover narration, a gun being loaded and later fired, as well as creepy orchestral arrangements set the tone of the unabashedly haunting album. It's a smart move to place this track first so that the listener can become immersed in the tone Carach Angren is aiming for.
The first real taste of black metal comes with "Lingering in an Imprint Haunting." Trademark qualities of the genre, fast riffs and drums, make their entrance and are joined by the harsh vocals of Seregor. While on the topic of Seregor, as a vocalist, he does a magnificent job of speaking with clear diction despite turning his vocals into a harsh rasp. Words are heard very clearly, which is an obvious plus for this album considering how it's mainly a dark narrative. A good narrative ruined by poor diction would certainly have caused this album to receive a lower score from me, but the band uses the vocal prowess of Seregor to their advantage.
The album continues its onslaught, and does a fine job of weaving symphonic elements into the black metal being played. The album begins raising the bar a bit higher with the track "The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist." The song captures a very melancholic mood, and features somber violin playing.
The next track which really caught my eye here was "Spectral Infantry Battalions." A short, but very well put together song, it's one of my favorites off the album. The song provides a nice break from the speedy music which has already made itself known, and instead takes a more anthem-like approach. The song is brief, to the point, and still manages to retain a convincingly dark atmosphere. It's the kind of song one would expect to hear during a war as troops march to their doom. A perfectly fitting and ghastly track for an album which deals primarily with World War events.
The album has a couple more tracks thrown in which continue with the album theme and eventually, the final track, "These Fields Are Lurking (Seven Pairs of Demon Eyes)", ends the album on a grand note. The album ends with piano being played as rain falls overhead, and the black metal jewel is complete.
Carach Angren is a unique band in the respect that they excel in areas most black metal groups don't. Seregor's vocals have excellent diction and work fantastically with the lyrical content he must present. The band writes intelligent and thought out material which showcases their storytelling abilities. The band does fit under the category of "symphonic black metal", but doesn't hinge their sound solely upon their symphonic arrangements. The band themselves write interesting material and add symphonic elements to create atmosphere instead of relying only on the symphonic elements to make their sound more interesting.
The album does suffer from one factor, and that is being rather monotonous after several listens in a row. The band adds enough symphonic material to remain interesting throughout, but the tremolo riffs and quick drums can become a bit droning after a while. The group does manage to change pace and add some moments of rest, but it's still a quality worthy of mention. For black metal fans, a band like this is an excellent find, and I highly recommend that people who get enjoyment out of the genre to check this band out.
Where the Corpses Sink Forever is the haunting third full-length installment by Carach Angren, a three piece symphonic black metal band who hail from the Netherlands. Black metal and the Netherlands are practically synonymous, though very few bands possess the ability to shine through the fog with something unique to offer, such as the depth and passion put into the art that Carach Angren produce. The band's last two releases were highly revered by audiences and reviewers alike, so one can see a justification in the high expectations surrounding their latest release.
Rain trickles in, followed by a haunting piano melody. The click of a tape recorder soon follows, with audible fuzz. "Sunday, October 3rd. 6 pm. Rain. I was ordered to execute seven prisoners... lined up, blindfolded, and chained to a stake in the middle of a field..." A gun is cocked. BANG. This is just the first few seconds of the introductory track, "An Omnious Recording", which sets the albums' dark mood, setting and story all in the span a little less than two minutes; one can almost see the fog and feel the warm, yet chilling rain on their clothing. Simply, the story is based around a military official from World War II that was ordered to kill seven prisoners, this soon takes a ghostly twist as the seven entities turn on the man, and over the span of seven of the nine grim tracks take him on a nightmarish journey through the hells of war.
There is a highly noticeable track skip between the first and second tracks that takes place during a scream that is designed to mesh the two tracks seamlessly together. There are no other glitches or errors heard in the remainder of the material however, and this only slightly distracts from the audible experience. The audio quality is clear when surrounding the synthetic elements, though there is a slight muffle that dampens the drums and vocals, fading them out. This does give a minor contrast to the bountiful clarity within everything else present, so it can be seen as both a positive and negative. Combined with the simplistic heavy-snare drumming, this keeps Carach Angren lingering in limbo between greasy old-school black metal and new age atmospheric/symphonic black metal.
The material is overflowing with memorable violin and orchestral arrangements that will leave you wanting to bang your head twice as hard to the ambiance and orchestration. "Lingering In an Imprint Haunting" attests to this theory, and even makes use of the vocals as a sound effect in a twisted, uniquely artistic way that is recollective of what would be present in a theatre play. "Sir John" is another similar immersive track that uses double bass drumming to blister through the background, slow horrific guitar chords ring throughout as manical cackling can be he heard through the epic, gore ridden lyrics.
"Forceps. Clamps. Pull him to the ground. No innocent hands! Every second counts! Cut through his skin! Thick blood flows. No anaesthesia as I dig in!"
More of them died, putrefied, but the surgeon lived on. Fed on their organs, limbs, a blood hunger never satisfied. Soon he realized his raid of death had come to an end.
No living soul left, for his hunger driven theft. Killed them all!
"But I must eat! Just a little piece of me! Come to daddy! He must eat!"
Carach Angren have done a tasteful job in keeping their music both elegant, remorseful and brutal all at the same time. Seregor gives an incredibly strong vocal performance with a whirlwind of shrieks, growls and everything between. His guitars, on the other hand, are your more simplistic black metal riffs but it works well given the overly complex nature of Ardek's orchestrations, which can easily be seen as the highlight of the content alongside the lyrical storytelling.
One of the best albums of the year by far, Carach Angren have really stepped up their game from their previous releases by amping up the intensity, which is concentrated well throughout the album. "Lingering in an Imprint Haunting", "Sir John", "General Nightmare" and "The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist" are the most noteworthy tracks here however no song on this album is lacking.
It's fitting how Where the Corpses Sink Forever ends, "These Fields Are Lurking (Seven Pairs of Demon Eyes)" stops where the first track begins, with that same click of the tape recorder and same exact wording. However, this time the subject realizes he's stuck in an eternal loop of hell. This is one of the must hear releases of 2012.
- Villi Thorne
Symphonic metal is now a thriving genre, existing in the form of symphonies intertwined with everything from power metal to death metal. Within this realm falls the long-existing genre of symphonic black metal, a genre that has become somewhat stale and thirsting for songwriting innovation that goes beyond just blatant symphonies over regular metal structures. As such, The Netherlands threw up their response to this potential rot in the form of Carach Angren. After the release of 2 eps and 2 full-length albums, this trio have become quite well-appreciated for their unique symphonic technique of spectral storytelling. And now, their 3rd release 'Where the Corpses Sink Forever' is out, screaming for even higher acclaim.
Each release by the band has consistently been a story related to the supernatural. While their 1st full-length 'Lammendam' was one about a white witch seeking revenge from her jealous killer/lover, its successor 'Death Came Through A Phantom Ship' was (oddly enough) about a ghost pirate ship. 'Where the Corpses Sink Forever' is a lot more innovative as a story and is about 7 horrifying visions of war-torn people who met unfortunate ends. As far as possible, I will try to keep the story aspect of this album under the wraps as I believe it should not be ruined for potential listeners. As far the music goes however, very rarely will one hear such a narrative form of symphonic black metal. Unlike regulars in the genre, Carach Angren very evidently write the beats and the rhythms to the symphonies, resulting in non-linear song structuring and more of a neo-classical touch to the rhythms. There are flashes of regularity here and there but they serve well as breathers in case of an overdose of virtuosity. The vocals of Seregor are once again the raspy reminders that something evil is around. He mixes it up well with the death growls and even the semi-soprano bursts as and when the storytelling requires a certain style. Both the vocals and music create wonderful mood graphs for each song, diving from the sympathetic tunes into the downright evil and violent ones and then back up into the plaintive strains. Almost all of the stories are made very clear. In fact, the listening experience improves with the fact that the emotions of the stories' characters shine through almost to the point of cinematic perfection.
Carach Angren has raised the bar for writing concept albums with their irregular song structuring and highly narrative form of music and lyric writing. It is very refreshing to hear a band that writes classical music and adds a wonderful metal touch to it. It is refreshing to see that a band like this does not waste its potential by being hung up on anti-Abrahamic religious sentiments. It is also quite fitting that a band from The Netherlands would write such great supernatural stories about the netherworld. The word 'Carach Angren' means 'Iron Jaws' in the Tolkien language of Sindarin, and if you have a taste for musical storytelling, you will see how fitting this name is one you are locked into their music's iron jaws.
----Originally written for: www.headbangers.in----
The symphonic black metal masters Carach Angren are back with a new distinguished cinematic black metal release, the series of tales that they have started in the year 2004 with the release of their first demo "The Chase Vault Tragedy" are still flooding out of their cinematic minds. I have been a fan for the Dutch group Carach Angren since the release of their EP album "Etherial Veiled Existence" and Iam still amazed of how the group kept their inspiration settled and stable for more than eight years, after the release of their debut album "Lammendam" I've been charmed by the landscapes that the band try to create with their extreme and fearsome tracks, and the skills remained constant with their second full-length album "Death Came Through A Phantom Ship", and now the band continues these series of tales with another seductive album.
The record "Where The Corpses Sink Forever" contains rival orchestral black metal sound, with theatrical lyrical theme and filmic environment that can without a doubt fill your minds and ears with epic authentic imaginations and transparent visions. The theatrical lyrical theme is about the atrocity of war (Probably the world war II), the intro open its orchestral arms with a voice of speaking guard that has to execute seven prisoners of war, all these seven prisoners narrate their own horrible story in the next seven tracks, and the last track combine all the tales together.
As the first tale "Lingering In an Imprint Haunting" starts, the black metal bullets will cut the surface of your brain, a total tragedy is captured within the orchestrations, the great efforts in the vocals made the whole story closer to reality, the choirs added more depth to the vision. The second tale "Bitte Totet Mich" has more aggressive drums work and more guitar tremolo shots, fast and dynamic crispy vocals tell a tale of a soldier tried many time to suicide, but he failed and the whole idea turned into a tragedy to be remembered. The third tale "The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist" is my favorite track in this record, the amount of skills that have been used in this track are unlimited, the double-bass work and the lead guitar shreds are sunk into the orchestral sound, where the rhythm guitar try to master the whole song, the grey solos and the dreamlike piano solo in this murderous track kept floating behind the vocals to make the whole vision real in front of your face.
The fourth tale "Sir John" started with some symphonic horns and double-bass line, the situation suddenly changed to a brutal black metal riff with vital lead guitar and rhythm guitar war, the track also contained a very sick story of a never ending hunger, every line in this story makes the whole track interesting. The fifth tale "Spectral Infantry Battalions" is a very short track "comparing to the other tracks", but actually its a provoking war track, freezing drumming and strong orchestrations, despite of its shortness I still believe that this track is one of the best performance for this band, and I noticed also that there are no guitar line in this track.
The sixth tale "General Nightmare" has a lot of horror and thrilling songwriting style, the harmonized black metal vocal lines have been blurred and mixed perfectly to create a real general nightmare. The seventh tale "Little Hector What Have You Done" is a five-minute orchestral black metal piece with a lot of blast-beats and raw guitar riffing, the crispy and the growling vocals kept the rhythm of the track alive for every section, in my point of view, this track is really insane to be in this record, but having it here just made this album flickering. The last track in this record "These Fields are Lurking" continued the same lunatic feeling of the previous track, but this time with more orchestral instruments and with more airy riffs, the cinematic feelings of these screamy orchestrations are getting more stable as the track get closer to its end, at the end of the track there is one of my best metal outros, a sound of a crying man and choirs, cellos and piano, one word to describe what I am hearing, its the word "Insanity".
Just for the record, this album hasnt reached its perfection for me because I couldn't hear vital bass guitar role, I expected to hear more bass guitar sounds especially when the rhythm guitar gets mute, so I guess the band should work on this thing for the upcoming releases. This is not a normal symphonic black metal record where the keyboards are taking over the whole atmosphere and where the vocals are limited, Carach Angren is an example of how to make a perfect and interesting record, with filmic and excellent production, if you are into any genre of extreme metal music then you have to get your copy of this record now, or else you suck!
Originally written for:
Symphonic black metal knows its heyday at the turn of the millennium. Some bands are at the height of their popularity; they fill concert rooms, headline festivals and sell more records than any other black metal band before them. However, this infatuation runs out of steam a few years later. The fad passed, despite the emergence of hundreds of new groups that were hoping to take a bite into the black pie. Today, only a handful of formations proudly claim the epithet of "symphonic", meaning now an amalgamation of classical music and black metal... and Dutch group Carach Angren is clearly one of them. With a new contract with French label Season of Mist, Namtar, Seregor and Ardek propose a third album entitled Where the Corpses Sink Forever (2012), undoubtedly the most ambitious of their young career.
After repeated listenings, something becomes clear. This album pushes the “symphonic style” beyond its widely accepted boundaries, getting it much closer to Wagnerian opera. This type of opera is based on a non-rhymed verse sung narratives of fantastic stories, with music in support and use of leitmotif musical patterns to define characters. This Limburg trio is indeed proposing unsettling music for anyone expecting to hear a Dimmu Borgir ersatz. From the outset, Lingering In an Imprint Haunting is determining the main features of the album. This song is a collage of several sequences that blend with the text, the latter being the true pillar in the heart of each song. The lyrical frame rests on an extremely gloomy and fantastic narrative, whose action takes place during several war episodes. This is a descent into the depths of hell and madness. It includes scenes of massacres, suicide and evil intervention. Also, lyrics are not organized under a verse/chorus mode, but rather as a declaimed text that recounts various episodes in different songs. The booklet is therefore essential for anyone who wants to fully understand this album and its lyrical concepts.
As for the musical sequences, they are often rich and complex, giving headache to listeners who want to immerse themselves in this stifling universe. Most songs are indeed regularly interspersed with passages that come to disrupt the course (piano extract on The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist is the best example). Mixes between rough sounding black metal and classical parts are very successful, giving lustre to an album that goes beyond standard black metal and recalls the symphonic style glory days of.
A full appreciation of this album requires many attentive listenings, booklet in hand ... like at the opera. With Where the Corpses Sink Forever, Carach Angren provides us a magnificent album, both for lyrics and music, based on an enormous composition and writing effort. I once thought that symphonic black metal had exhausted all its resources and finally sank into mediocrity. I was wrong. 8/10
Originally written for Métal Obscur
"Where the Corpses Sink Forever" is Carach Angren's third studio album; it's an album with a mixture of strange elements. These dutch metallers can't get any better. A perfect amalgamation of symphonic music and black metal. Namtar's drums, Seregor's guitar and vocals, and Ardek's orchestrations make this an album every metal enthusiast should own. And what an interesting album title, might I add. That alone should prompt you to purchase it.
To start off, I would like to type that I'm very fond of the lyrical choice for this album. Their previous albums were made up of ghost stories and legends; this time around they decided to take a more realistic approach; WWII and the horrors of living through it. (I know I'm not the only one that loves their story-based albums) An amazing choice and a gripping theme. Anybody that's interested in history or historical fiction will definitely be hooked, just like I was (I wonder if I've slept yet?... haha! Nope).
Seregor's vocals here shine like no other, they are strong, overwhelming (in the good way), shrieked, growled, perfected. His singing range is magnificent especially in tracks like "Lingering in an Imprint Haunting." That vocal solo he has about a minute into the song is beyond words, with only the drums to back him up. Also, the vocal solo in "The Funerary Dirge for a Violinist" at about four minutes and thirty seconds in, with only the orchestration to back him up. He's definitely one of my favorite extreme metal vocalists. His devilish laughter creeps me the f*** out. Still a good thing in my book, err, review.
Seregor's guitars, on the other hand, are basic, but fit perfectly, nothing amazing, but nothing bad either. Your average black metal tremolo picking and chugs, and riffs that are inspired by melody. His guitar playing is not wasted though, he has moments in which he shines throughout the album.
Namtar's drumming stands out yet again, like on all of their other releases. Namtar is a magnificent drummer; he's fast, agile, precise, his timing is perfect and his style is bombastic enough to keep your attention alone. I'm hoping for an entire music video in which he just looks at the camera and drums the entire song. I am throwing all my money at the screen as I type.
Ardek's orchestrations are what make the album so amazing. They give the album a well-needed epic feel, I mean it is about a world war after all! It should have that epic feel to it. They are perpetrated perfectly and are always usually present. They aren't overwhelming enough to detract from the other instruments though, so don't fret. I'm hoping for an all symphonic music release from him very soon (still throwing my money at the screen). These guys define symphonic black metal.
To reiterate, these guys put the 'symphonic' in 'symphonic black metal'. With their amazingly perfected style, their unique approach on a relatively old sub-genre, with every track being a highlight, these guys are going to be metal-gods in no time. Hell, it's a wonder why you're still reading this review, go out and buy it now!