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They did it again - 95%

cetacean, May 6th, 2018

To the question of where Carach Angren could possibly go after the tour de force of Death Came Through a Phantom Ship, this is one hell of an answer.

For the most part it sticks to the established formula of cinematic orchestration, varied and progressive metal riffing and drumming, and the inimitable Seregor - whose voice often resembles the album's seven spirits fighting for demonic control over the mouth of one possessed. There are a few minor differences: the "story" is a series of vignettes on the theme of war rather than a start-to-finish narrative, the shortest track is an interesting song in its own right rather than a mere interlude, male choir vocals are used more liberally in the heavier parts, etc. But the most obvious change is that there's a lot more (gasp?) actual metal on this nominal black metal album.

Again, coming after Death Came Through a Phantom Ship, that album played like an opera in which all the vocal parts were harsh and the guitar and drums were merely unusual members of the pit orchestra. But Where the Corpses Sink Forever has brilliant moments of pure metal balanced with equally brilliant moments of pure film-score and the two elements coalesce more often than not into- well, brilliance. "The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist" and especially "Bitte tötet mich" are excellent examples of this.

(Anyone still skeptical of this whole endeavor should try spinning "Spectral Infantry Battalions" followed by "Bitte tötet mich" - despite there being at least one YouTube video of them messing it up live, the pacing is perfect).

This album comes very close to being as enthralling a listen as its predecessor. All that really gets in the way are a few instances of taking an uninteresting chorus and repeating it too many times ("...Violinist" and "Little Hector, What Have You Done?") and the presence of one legitimately weak song - namely, "Sir John," which mixes musical incoherence with adolescent lyrics in a way that would become all too common on This Is No Fairytale. Still a more-than worthy successor.