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As Black As Death - 100%

MetalEnlightenment, November 3rd, 2012

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