On February 23 of this year, Carach Angren came out with another Symphonic Black Metal masterpiece.
I wrote the song reviews as I listened to the music, so take into consideration that you are basically reading a live review up till the very end.
Band: Carach Angren
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Caution: Disturbing Themes
Opening up with a small into titled "Once Upon A Time..." that slowly builds in intensity and sounds like the into to a dark telling of Little Red Riding Hood or something like that. However, that is not the direction that this music decides to take.
If anybody is interested, the lyrics are here if you want to read along while you listen. Simply click the song title and it will drop the lyrics down.
We then hit the second track titled "There's No Place Like Home". With the title of the album, I originally anticipated an album that followed the thought path of some of The Grimm Brother's fairy tales. I was very mistaken, considering this song is very much about domestic abuse. It's actually a really dark story the lyrics paint and it borderline makes me uncomfortable with how graphically it describes everything.
At this point it is clear that this is going to be one of the darker narratives Carach Angren has undertaken as we follow the story of a brother and sister.
The next step taken in this dark journey is "When Crows Tick On Windows". The children flee from their abusive home, only to be caught again by their father. After dragging them back home we find that the mother has killed herself rather than live with this life anymore. It has a rather haunting string piece at the end that turns into an emotion laden lament.
"Two Flies Flew Into A Black Sugar Cobweb" brings back the thought of flight from the nightmare house. The children run into the woods and get lost in the night. Fearful, they continue on till dawn when they come across a city and a small playground. Here they meet a man dressed as a clown, who seems to want to help them at first, though it is then revealed that he only wishes to drug and kidnap them.
"Dreaming Of A Nightmare In Eden" takes a mild step away from the main narrative to tell a very dark take on part of the tale of Hansel and Gretel. This is likely a dream brought on by the drugs they were given.
"Possessed By A Craft Of Witchery" opens with the children waking up in a basement. They have been kidnaped by "a deranged psychotic" who hears the voice of a witch in his head. The only way to keep the witch at bay is to kill children in a ritual manner. We close on the death of the boy in this story.
"Killed And Served By The Devil" opens at the end of the last song. The way the killer mutilates the boy is now described from the perspective of the sister, who is restrained in a cage in the same room this is taking place in. After the dismemberment has finished the girl is forced to bury her brother in the back garden. After she finishes burying the boy it is time to clean the kill room. After being told that she will serve as a slave to the killer until the witch calls for her death, it is time to eat. There is quite a thing at the end, which I will let you hear.
"The Witch Perished In Flames" opens on the girl waking in her cage again. Following the murder of her brother she contemplates suicide. However, she realizes that there is naught to be gained through her own death and she makes the commitment to be brave. Taking her chance at the next meal, she kills the man. During the scuffle a fire breaks out and she leaves while the monster burns in his home.
"Tragedy Ever After" begins with Gretel waking. She ran hard into a tree and now is unsure whether she is in the real world or not. Judging by the strange shadowy being calling to her, it would seem she is in purgatory. Seeing as it's purgatory it makes sense that the burned corpse of her brother's killer returns. Or wait, is it? As the song says while the abusive father is shown leaving the room, "The real nightmare continues in reality."
**Going for longest post yet record**
So let's talk for a second. This is a musically solid album. Everything that they do plays to the mood of the setting they are trying to describe. Swelling and falling, the entire album just works.
I will give this a solid 8/10, a definite score for Carach Angren to add to their discography.
I listened to this album all the way through on Wednesday and I'm not sure how obvious it is to you guys, but I definitely felt like I was falling into a dark mood while listening to this. Something about music that has an orchestra in it just tugs at my emotions, and if you read through the lyrics while you listen the whole experience is heightened in a way. I don't mean to sound all emo, it's just what happens.
Still though, I would call this a really good album and worth a listen. If you're not a fan of Metal, check out the first and last track since they're instrumental anyway. It's orchestral with a gritty guitar undertone, so it's obviously good.