Carach Angren
Franckensteina Strataemontanus

I have a lot of inappropriate shirts. Perhaps my favorite is my Carach Angren “You came to the wrong forest, mother fucker.” It’s not my Satanic Warmaster shirt where someone is getting sawed in half through the genital region, which I once accidentally wore (or so I told my girlfriend at the time) to the Cincinnati aquarium, but it now has a grease stain which may never come out, so there’s competition.

What does this really have to do with Carach Angren’s new album? Shut your damn mouth, that’s what. I like offensive shirts, although a little less as I age. What I used to find hilarious I now think of as an attempt to be edgy. Anyway…

The album gets started with the obligatory spoken word intro called “Here in German Woodland,” which is told by a British man. It doesn’t last long, then we’re into the first proper track, which is called “Scourged Ghoul Undead.” It starts out heavy and reminds one very quickly that this is indeed a black metal album. However, the symphonic element is turned up pretty high to almost Dimmu Borgir levels. I must point out, while it lurks in the background, it’s not quite the Disney-like, birds fluttering level of symphonics, but that type does make an appearance or two. About 3 minutes in, there’s a sound effect which sounds like a bird tweeting that I found distracting upon the first few listens, but the track redeems itself with a great final few minutes, including a pretty solid hook.

The next track, “Franckensteina Strataemontanus,” deserves mention for a few reasons. Firstly, it is the title track. Secondly, it’s great. It starts out incorporating keyboards along with what could be called an industrial style stomp. It’s only a little over 3 minutes, but includes two hooks, including stating the song title as one of them. I have no idea how they turned that phrase into a hook, but they deserve to be congratulated.

Track 7, “Monster,” has an industrial stomp much like the previously mentioned “Franckensteina Strataemontanus.” It’s quite short as well, once again barely eclipsing the 3-minute mark. The vocals themselves sound a bit like Rammstein. I’ll mention this later, but Seregon’s vocals, as well as his lyrics paint quite a picture. This is something Carach Angren does well on almost every record. The industrial drum beat also includes some quick double bass flourishes, which serve as a reminder that you’re still listening to metal.

The final track on the album (at least in this edition) is called “Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam.” It begins with a keyboard/symphonic intro which lasts about a minute-and-a-half. Yes, this intro dry humps that line between Disney and black metal (I’m sure Disney would love their name being invoked in the same sentence as dry humping). The black metal blasting lasts for a couple of minutes until the track goes silent for a moment and the keyboards/symphonics come back. This time, however, there is a focus on the classical side of that spectrum as opposed to those movie-like keyboard flutters. From there forward, the track is instrumental, bringing in some black metal elements again, then slowly phasing them out as the symphonics take over and the track ends.

As the track ends, I will also wrap up my review. I’ll confess I fell in love with Carach Angren when I heard Where the Corpses Sink Forever. I fell out of love with them with This is No Fairytale. 2017’s Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten brought me back in with cautious optimism for their future. I fully expected their latest to be a dud, so I was pleasantly surprised when I started to enjoy it. In fact, I enjoy it more each time I listen. Carach Angren’s biggest strength to me is their ability to tell a story. They do that again quite well here. So well that this may be their best album.  If you’re into the more theatrical, symphonic side of black metal, I would suggest giving this a listen. Perhaps this emerges with more time, but the only reason I can’t definitively call it their best yet is because there is no song on par with “The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist” or “Little Hector, What Have You Done?” However, I would be quite surprised if it doesn’t end up on my year end list. I’ve pre-ordered the deluxe edition and I strongly urge you to do the same!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
July 6th, 2020

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik T

    This is much better than Fairy Tale and Dance and laugh. Also, I had n idea Michael caine did voice over work for black metal…


  2. Commented by: J. Mays

    You didn’t? Michael Caine is kvlt. I heard he was the one who actually killed Euronymous.


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