Carach Angren

Just in time for Halloween comes this concept album by Dutch symphonic black metal act Carach Angren. The name is taken from The Silmarillion, although there’s no Tolkien reference in the music. And unlike many symphonic bm acts, there’s none of the usual Satanic nonsense either. Instead, Carach Angren have refreshingly built the album around a Dutch ghost story. Out with the goats, in with the ghosts. I did some digging online to see if Lammendam is based on a real Dutch tale (“This is the saga of the White Ghost haunting Lammendam!”), as the rest of the band’s output has all been inspired by legends and spooky folktales. Didn’t turn up anything, but you can use your imagination and follow along with the lyrics (if you can; the rasps aren’t too unintelligible). Helps if you picture Hammer horror greats like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as the main characters too.

As expected, there’s a lot of Cradle of Borgir going on here (and I say that affectionately), with a heavy dose of orchestrated Danny Elfman flourishes as well. That alone might turn some of you off already, as the garish/ghoulish tone, keening strings and woo-woo choral voices on tracks like “Haunting Echoes from the Seventeeth Century” are slightly less murderous than the chilling tale that’s being told. But then you’d miss out on an enjoyable and well-crafted experience, including frenzied, feverish nightmares like “The Carriage Wheel Murder” and “Corpse in a Nebulous Creek.”

At times I wish Lammendam were a little closer to the madman’s rage of Anorexia Nervosa, who took similar elements but used screamed vocals and buried orchestration to create a truly demented experience. This evenly blends ferocity with flamboyance, and so unless you’re in the right mood for theatrical antics, it might not do the trick. But then again, like I said, Halloween is coming.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
October 12th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Nick

    Pretty interesting listen. I’m intrigued to hear their earlier material as well. There’s an interview with them floating around somewhere where they talk about the actual legend, but I’d have to go find it. It may or may not be on their myspace.

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    they have a new one out this year too, soon I think if not out already. will have to check it out. maybe another review.

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    i REALLY enjoyed this- best symphonic bm album since Anorexia Nervosa.

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    you wanna take the new one? it has a nautical theme I think. ghosts at sea or something like that.

  5. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    If they send it or if i stumble across it i might do it- otherwise ill wait- too much other stuff right now thats been sent

  6. Commented by: gabaghoul

    “Mystically entitled “Lammendam”, their latest creation tells the legend of “de Lammendam”, a saga from their homebase of Limburg about the ghost of a lady in a white dress. Carach Angren transformed the eye-witnessed myth to sound in a way that sends chills down every listener’s spine.”

    and there you have it, it’s based on a real ghost story. how the hell did I miss this, it’s on their myspace. research = fail.

  7. Commented by: Justin Abraham

    Even if this tale did turn out to be a work of fiction, it doesn’t make the album fall short of a stunning piece of orchestral, classical black metal. But since it IS a true story…it’s an orchestral, classical, HISTORIC piece of black metal instead…:)

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