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Where Skies Weep Leaden Tears and Blood - 95%

andreipianoman, July 5th, 2018

Carach Angren is a truly original metal act that simply stands on its own and defies any genre classification or limitations. The tag they've given themsleves is "horror metal" but as far as this album is concerned, I don't even think that is accurate. It is the finest musical storytelling I've ever seen expressing all the intended emotions flawlessly as well as creating a consistent narration that creates a lot of dynamic and enables you to envision all the scenes as if they're happening in front of your eyes. It is a proper theater play expressed through sound and really no image is needed because in your head, every detail is seen crystal clear. I actually feel like any visual depiction would actually harm the effect of this, making you feel like a spectator. When listening to the album however, you get involved and caught up in the act, making you unable to pull away before the album is over because you just need the closure in order to break free.

Despite the storytelling itself being so accentuated, don't get any illusions that the actual music suffers from this. It's actually quite the contrary. With proper black metal roots and a primitive low-fi sound mixed with symphonic elements and insane dynamic riffs and drums, a fantastic balance is created between the story itself and the way the music makes you feel. This evil trio shows no difficulty in bringing technical skills forward in a way that enhances the emotional content instead of killing it. The riffs bring a combination of tremolo picking black metal style and intensely rhythmic, sliced and galloping Meshuggah influences, the end result being neither of these two faces but something entirely different. Drums are based on the holy blast beat and double pedals, keeping a very technical pattern that is usually sliced and manipulated with incisions of intricate cymbal work and blistering strums. Above this unforgiving metal skeleton floats a symphony of horror soundtrack keyboard strings that blend the emotion into the complex structure of the music. At times, keys may lurk into the background and just keep a constant tone but they also come forward quite often to sweep fast and dramatic melodies that sometimes merge with guitar leads for even more intensity.

Such unusual and dark music demands a powerful concept but never in a million years would I have expected something as gruesome and morbid as this. A while back when I listened to Carach Angren's latest album "Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten", I really enjoyed the genuine scary movie atmosphere that they so easily pull off but while it was authentic and credible, I witnessed most of it with a smile on my face and having seriously good fun. With "Where the Corpses Sink Forever", it's nothing of the sort. The story in this one as well as the artistic performance it is given, wrap you into the darkest horrors of war. The intro "An Ominous Recording" presents a soldier that is ordered to execute seven prisoners. Seven echoing gunshots above the background of heavy rain are then followed by seven songs, each telling a different story of war. Madness and insanity are thrown furiously at your face in scenes like "Sir John" or "Bitte tötet mich", with a lot of accent chaotic and destructive atmosphere while songs like "The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist" bring forth pure bitterness, tragedy and loss. While most horror stories revolve around the idea of creating fear, this one leaves no room for it. Fear comes with the possibility of pain or death. Carach Angren brings it's certainty. The primary emotions here are suffering ,despair and pure agony. And Seregor's harsh vocals offer not only all the emotions to their fullest but also a unique ability to create dynamic images, actions and characters. He stimulates your imagination to the max.

And while all that suspense will keep you wired into the need to see how it ends, the closure of this is simply bone-chilling and offers no relief. As the last track of the album describes the soldier's struggle to escape these deadly visions, a vague sense of hope might appear but it is soon shattered as he remains trapped in this place, bound to endless suffering and pain. Desperate screams and ghostly orchestral noises fade further away at the end of this sinister, blackened tale, giving way for the empty and hollow sound of rain to return. You're trapped here for eternity...