Carpathian Forest
Defending The Throne Of Evil

When Nordavind, the most corpse-like being in all of black metal, left, I feared the mighty Carpathian Forest would change drastically. His Frostian flourishes were always inspired and were one of the quirks that made the band one of the elite. Easily one of the most consistent of the long standing black metal bands, they are also one of the few remaining Norwegian bands of the 90’s still playing true black metal. The old school Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost underpinnings are still there, but the more epic, atmospheric aspects are largely gone on Defending The Throne Of Evil. The music is still as chaotic as always, with it’s loose underlying structure a bit tighter this time. With Nattefrost calling all the shots now, the tone is harsher, more furious, less melodic. Not to worry, they have not joined the ranks of bands incorporating brutal death metal.

The chaotic rhythmic passages range from slow to fast, rarely needing much melody to boost interest. Especially in the slower passages I hear Motörhead. Very few bands out do their past releases in intensity, usually tempering such extremities with maturity. Luckily, Nattefrost on his mellow days is still well beyond the realm of clinical normalcy. His vocals are among the best in black metal, harsh yet understandable. I can catch a lot of his words, but wish I had a lyric sheet with my promo copy. Their lyrics are always entertaining.

When you put this disc in your cd player (notice I did not say if), skip ahead to track 10, “The Old House On The Hill” will get you in the proper mood. Great atmosphere and memorable keys, this one sticks in your head. King Diamond would enjoy this one. It is hard to single out songs to discuss because that means ignoring some worthy ones. I won’t go through all of them, but a few of my favorites are “Skjend Hans Lik,” great bass, eerie interlude, extra harsh vocal delivery. “The Well Of All Human Tears” is slow and mesmerizing with very minimal drumming. Old Black Sabbath comes through. “One With The Earth” brings to mind Motörhead circa 1977. Always needing one truly strange song on each disc, this one’s called “Cold Murderous Music” with whispered vocals and a mournful jazz like feel. Twelve songs, fifty one minutes, with a consistent quality.

Carpathian Forest is one of the few bands that have an entire discography permanently in my cd changer. I reserved a spot for this disc a few years ago. It was worth the wait and will certainly join the back catalog in frequent playing. Season Of Mist has signed them to a two album deal, let’s hope it’s not another three years to the next one.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
September 19th, 2003


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