CARACH ANGREN – Where the Corpses Sink Forever
Symphonic metal is now a thriving genre, existing in the form of symphonies intertwined with everything from power metal to death metal. Within this realm falls the long-existing genre of symphonic black metal, a genre that has become somewhat stale and thirsting for songwriting innovation that goes beyond just blatant symphonies over regular metal structures. As such, The Netherlands threw up their response to this potential rot in the form of Carach Angren. After the release of 2 EPs and 2 full-length albums, this trio have become quite well-appreciated for their unique symphonic technique of spectral storytelling. And now, their 3rd release ‘Where the Corpses Sink Forever’ is out, screaming for even higher acclaim.
Each release by the band has consistently been a story related to the supernatural. While their 1st full-length ‘Lammendam’ was one about a white witch seeking revenge from her jealous killer/lover, its successor ‘Death Came Through A Phantom Ship’ was (oddly enough) about a ghost pirate ship. ‘Where the Corpses Sink Forever’ is a lot more innovative as a story and is about 7 horrifying visions of war-torn people who met unfortunate ends. As far as possible, I will try to keep the story aspect of this album under the wraps as I believe it should not be ruined for potential listeners. As far the music goes however, very rarely will one hear such a narrative form of symphonic black metal. Unlike regulars in the genre, Carach Angren very evidently write the beats and the rhythms to the symphonies, resulting in non-linear song structuring and more of a neo-classical touch to the rhythms. There are flashes of regularity here and there but they serve well as breathers in case of an overdose of virtuosity. The vocals of Seregor are once again the raspy reminders that something evil is around. He mixes it up well with the death-growls and even the semi-soprano bursts, as and when the storytelling requires a certain style. Both vocals and music create wonderful mood graphs for each song, diving from the sympathetic tunes into the downright evil and violent ones and then back up into the plaintive strains. Almost all of the stories are made very clear. In fact, the listening experience improves with the fact that the emotions of the stories’ characters shine through almost to the point of cinematic perfection.
Carach Angren has raised the bar for writing concept albums with their irregular song structuring and highly narrative form of music and lyric writing. It is very refreshing to hear a band that writes classical music and adds a wonderful metal touch to it. It is refreshing to see that a band like this does not waste its potential by being hung up on anti-Abrahamic religious sentiments. It is also quite fitting that a band from The Netherlands would write such great supernatural stories about the netherworld. The word ‘Carach Angren’ means ‘Iron Jaws’ in the Tolkien language of Sindarin, and if you have a taste for musical storytelling, you will see how fitting this name is one you are locked into their music’s iron jaws.