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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