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It's Darker Than You Think - 85%

PKendall317, July 12th, 2011

Defending the Throne of Evil is a dark album that makes me think of the cold, and sometimes unbearable Indiana winters whenever I listen to it. It's as if the band is bringing the frigid arctic temperatures of their native Norway not just into my house, but into my soul as well, and for the next 51 minutes, anybody who listens to it will feel it too.

Nattefrost's vocals, although monotonous throughout, add to the cold, dark atmosphere the album creates. My one problem with Nattefrost is that his vocal range is not very diverse. He stays at the same tone throughout the entire album, never going any higher or lower with his voice, or at least, not very much. But on the other hand, other black metal vocalists from bands like 1349, Darkthrone, or Setherial for example don't appear to change their pitch much either.

The string section is excellent and very dark sounding, and I almost want to say they have slightly more of a death metal influence than other black metal bands. Imagine listening to Darkthrone's album, "A Blaze in the Northern Sky," and that should give you a good idea of what Carpathian Forest's guitars sound like. The key difference between the two, and somewhat unusual and pure blasphemy to black metal purists is the synths in the background.

Throughout "Defending the Throne of Evil" keyboards and synths can be heard. Not in an upfront, obvious way in bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Vesania, or Old Man's Child, but in a much subtler manner. They're in the background, the emphasis is put on the vocal's, guitars, and drums, while the keyboard simply serves to add a cold, dark aura to the entire sound of the band. However they do become much more obvious on the tenth track, "The Old House on the Hill," where there up front for all to see.

Tracks like "It's Darker Than You Think," "Skjend Hans Lik," "Ancient Spirit of the Underworld," are some of the highlights and are among my favorite Carpathian Forest songs and my favorite black metal songs. In my opinion, Defending the Throne of Evil is Carpathian Forest's best albums of the ones that I own and have heard.