Moonstone & Amethyst

Carathis is a one-man project helmed by one, Erech Leleth, who also serves in Grandeur as well as Ancient Mastery, Narzissus, and Golden Blood. He’s been pretty prolific since 2021 with a hand full of splits and EPs and Personal Records has taken two of his latest EPs, The Amethyst Fortress and The Moonstone Temple, and compiled them into one release.

What we have here is some excellent, dreamy, melodic/atmospheric black metal with some unique keyboards. Not unlike Violet Cold, Mesarthim or Christian Cosentino‘s Lawn release from 2021, the keyboards are not your standard symphonic black metal, neo-classical or orchestral arrangements but much rather a happier, almost synth-pop take on the style, with some enjoyable unique results.

The first 5 songs are from The Amythyst Fortress EP, and have a little more raw, rough production, but the compositions and keyboards are no less prevalent. And the songwriting itself is a pretty catchy, bouncy, left-field back metal that suits the pipe organ on speed keyboards perfectly with some really nice moments where everything comes together. For example, the second track ” The Crimson Gate” has a really nice, pure melodic black metal riff, but also offsets it with a catchy, somber darkwave-ish chorus. The same can be said for the third track “The Forsaken Realm”, where some surprisingly vicious black metal is broken up by some magical keys in the chorus. Those same keys start the next track ” The Fallen Star” before it gets into the more despondent territory. The EPs lengthy title track then actually gets a little more chaotic and dissonant, even with the keyboards sounding like a merry-go-round stuck in fast.

The 4 Moonstone Temple tracks are better produced and polished and also lean more into the unique circus-y/pipe organ/merry-go-round synths, with a more upbeat pace and delivery, though still with some cool melodic riffing. In particular,  “The Portal” and my personal favorite, “The Procession” with the latter having a very catchy, nifty little almost pop/techno jaunt in the chorus that will for sure have true/Kult black metal fans all worked up. But there is still a nice delivery of pretty scathing melodic black metal riffage as heard in “The Prayer” and closer “The Priestess”. But all four tracks show a more confident, developed Leleth as he finds his sound, a sound I’m really enjoying

A very promising, genre-defying newcomer, and one I will be watching as he develops the unique sound further. I’m just hoping he can retain the melodic back metal balance with the eclectic keyboards and programming, as heard on the newer Moonstone tracks, and not get too far out there.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 8th, 2023


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