Carach Angren - Lammendam review
01. Het Spook Van De Leiffartshof
02. A Strange Presence Near The Woods
03. Haunting Echoes From The Seventeenth Century
04. Phobic Shadows And Moonlit Meadows
05. Hexed Melting Flesh
06. The Carriage Wheel Murder
07. Corpse In A Nebulous Creek
08. Invisible Physic Entity
09. Heretic Poltergeist Phenomena
10. La Malediction De La Dame Blanche
11. There Was No Light [bonus]
12. After Death Premises [bonus]
13. Yonder Realm Photography [bonus]
+ Making of [video]
Now, when it comes to black metal, I'm definitely a very big fan. I'd say it's certainly within my top 3 genres of metal. I've had my favorites from the whole black metal genre, always leaning towards the more melodic and symphonic side (i.e. Emperor, Dimmu Borgir), but I guess I have finally found my favorite black metal band; Carach Angren.
Carach Angren ("Iron Jaws" in the Sindarin language) play a form of black metal which is, without a doubt, firmly fixed in raw black metal, but they also have many symphonic and orchestral aspects added, such as keyboards and (I think) an orchestra, which creates a much more symphonic black metal sound overall. What makes them stand out though is the level of quality to which they use this, as well as the themes around which they form their music. Allow me to elaborate.
Lammendam is Carach Angren's debut LP, it is a concept album, almost entirely focused around a story which is based upon the myths and legends of a "woman in white" or "La Madame Blanche" as they refer to it throughout the album. Telling a story, which is literally of movie quality (no joke), the vocalist and guitarist Seregor spits forth a vivid tale of love, betrayal, deceit and murder. His lyrics are written with such a high level of quality, that they read as though they are taken straight out of a horror novel (which I believe is his intention). This not only assists the band in telling the story of the album to the listener, but it is also used fantastically by Seregor to jump through many forms of black metal vocals throughout this album.
Seregor's vocals hit the perfect spot for me as far as black metal vocals go - primarily screaming, using traditional high pitched rasps which I love, but often taking them lower to suit the passage of lyrics which he is currently delivering. There are even a few spoken sections done in demonic layered vocals which work unbelievably well on songs such as in "Hexed Melting Flesh". His vocals are truly unholy and I guarantee you, they will give you chills countless times throughout the whole album.
Another part of Carach Angren's sound is the use of keyboards and an orchestra. Keyboardist Ardek manipulates both of these masterfully to create a hugely effective and chilling atmosphere behind the black metal created by the other two members of the band. Rising and falling masterfully throughout the album, he conjures an atmosphere which makes some of Dimmu Borgir's strongest symphonically material pale in comparison. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much of an atmosphere this album has, it's practically dripping with it. If I was forced to choose a highlight of the symphonic aspects of Carach Angren, I would choose the introductions to either "Haunting Echoes From The Seventeenth Century" or "Corpse In A Nebulous Creek"; it simply doesn't get any better than this.
The third and final member of Carach Angren is Namtar. He is truly a stunning black metal drummer, and displays some of the highest quality drumming I've ever heard. Furious blast beats, masterfully rapid double bass, and a level of timing and precision that complements the rest of Carach Angren's music perfectly. His drumming helps build on the atmosphere created by the other two members, by climbing in tempo rapidly, before dropping down again and often cutting out completely.
Carach Angren applies corpse paint like many other black metal bands, however, the style which they use and the way in which they apply it is very unique, and they truly look like corpses themselves with this paint on. They also appear to wear Victorian style garments and clothes in many of their pictures, which is something I've not really seen before, and this all adds to the atmosphere and theme of their black metal.
I cannot recommend this album highly enough. The only gripe I have is that the drums could be slightly higher in the mix, but this does not detract from the album at all. Carach Angren have absolutely everything I could ever ask for in black metal. Haunting and terrifying vocals, amazing guitar work with tremolo picking and huge raw riffs, crushing bass and the huge symphonic aspect behind it all, a terrifyingly scary atmosphere and a story to bring it all together. This album really is not to miss and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is even remotely interested in any form of black metal.
Recommended tracks: "Corpse In A Nebulous Creek", "Haunting Echoes From The Seventeenth Century" and "The Carriage Wheel Murder"
|Let's start with the usual 'they sound like this and this and this band' game, to be done with it quickly.
Carach Angren play symphonic black metal, with quite a lot classical elements and orchestrations, which can sometimes be reminiscent of label-mates Le Grand Guignol, but without the great, über-baroque feel. Of course, the name 'Dimmu Borgir' is bound to pop up in a review of this kind of music... So? Yes, their influence can be felt, of course, but not overbearingly so. Finally, the last song will draw gazes towards the baroque masters Misanthrope, as it is sung in French.
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