With DEATH CAME THROUGH A PHANTOM SHIP, CARACH ANGREN continued to catch the world’s attention with their unique interpretation of black metal. While most black metal acts tend to emphasize a particular negative emotional response summoning the darkest aspects of depression, fear, evil and the like, this Dutch band took the symphonic route but instead of merely copying obvious influences like Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth, this band found a niche in the theatrical operatic department. While the vocals are clearly rooted in the black metal world, the musical approach sounds like a black metal opera gone wrong, well wrong in the subject matter. The music is quite adeptly written and performed.
Their second album DEATH CAME… captures their usual black metal fairytale subject matter meets symphonic bombast with this one being an interpretation of “The Flying Dutchman,” which is the legendary cursed ghost ship that was doomed to stay out to sea for eternity. One of the more unique aspects of CARACH ANGREN is that although the lyrics are performed in the typical raspy black metal vocal style, it is actually possible to discern the lyrics and understand the story as it unfolds! How un-kvlt is that?!!
Although i agree with those like me who can tolerate symphonic black metal but find it a precarious balance to maintain a sound that works, i find this album to be an interesting blend of different styles of metal albeit blackened with a nice symphonic backing that serves more as the trampoline for which the metal aspects can bounce off and around rather than the metal itself serving as the backbone. I know this rubs the kvlt crowd in all the wrong ways and likewise any classical music purist would cut their ears off listening to this stuff, but CARACH ANGREN has a way of keeping the musical ideas flowing and therefore interesting.
Although there is a lot to love about this album i can’t quite appreciate it as much as the following “Where The Corpses Sink Forever” where i feel all the elements just gel perfectly together. On DEATH CAME…. all the same elements are present but the balance isn’t quite as honed and the symphonies sometimes feel like a bit of pompous fluff and outstay their welcome. While the black metal is quite well adept at incorporating everything from traditional to thrash aspects of metal and for the most part plays well with its symphonic counterparts, i have to admit that at times it does seem a bit too much like Darkthrone competing with Wagner, nevertheless overall i find enough on DEATH CAME THROUGH A PHANTOM SHIP to enjoy. If you are seeking an eviler-than-fuck type of metal, then run away from this one because this is for those rare breeds who can appreciate a black metal aesthetic coupled with the symphonic compositional skills of a classically trained musician. Not for everyone but rewarding for those who can dig it.
- more than 2 years ago
- 0 comments
- Report #313159
Having really enjoyed Where the Corpses Sink Forever I thought I'd delve into the Carach Angren back catalogue, but Death Came Through a Phantom Ship doesn't quite hit the spot for me in the same way the followup did. It's not that any one particular aspect of the band's black metal take on King Diamond theatricism falls down badly this time around - it's just that a wide range of different factors show a little room for improvement and perform just a little less well than they did on the next album, and the net result of all these little setbacks ultimately hurts the album.
The production, for instance, is a little less good this time around (the mix of the instruments, in particular, isn't great), which is problematic for the style of symphonic black metal these guys are going for, and the instrumental performances interest me less - in particular, Ardek's keyboard work this time around seems rather too cheesy for my tastes. It's not an incompetent release and there's still stuff to enjoy here, but for my part I'd rather just give Where the Corpses Sink Forever another spin.
- more than 2 years ago
- 0 comments
- Report #278046
Death Came Through a Phantom Ship is Carach Angren’s second full-length album, released in 2010. Lyrically this continues with their theme of conceptual albums about ghost stories, this time they’ve given us a tale of a ghost ship backed by some of the best black metal this reviewer has heard from 2010.
There’s an intro track present here, Electronic Voice Phenomena, which lasts for a little under a minute. The aim of this track appears to set the atmosphere of the album which it does exceedingly well with its use of sound effects which suddenly burst into the first actual song the band gives us which is The Sighting Is a Portent of Doom. This and the third track ...And the Consequence Macabre are like partners lyrically, forming as distinct part of the story that the album tells. The songs do not follow a traditional song structure of verse – chorus – verse – chorus etc, the lyrics are continually moving on, this is a story after all and it is always advancing, never repeating. Since this is not commercial music no chorus is actually needed as a sing-along reference point and the lack of one has made the results all the better.
These two songs really set the pace of the record. The black metal stuff is great on its own but these are some of the best symphonies backing it that I’ve heard from any symphonic black metal band. At times the music is almost classical, especially in the album’s final track, The Shining Was a Portent of Gloom. The vocals of Seregor are also top notch black metal style growls and what’s really great about them is that it is not actually that difficult to make out his lyrics even on your first listen of the album and without having the booklet to follow the songs with. To top the package off the riffs are kept interesting throughout, resulting in one really solid album that is almost up there with the very best of them, with my personally favourites of the bunch being The Sighting Is a Portent of Doom, ...And the Consequence Macabre, Bloodstains On the Captain's Log, The Course of a Spectral Ship and The Shining Was a Portent of Gloom.
Overall I’m very impressed with this album and won’t hesitant to recommend it to not just black metal fans but to all metal fans because this isn’t the typical under-produced raw black metal that some bands play, but something from a much higher level of musicianship on all fronts. The symphonies that Ardek writes and performs give a real atmosphere to the album that really fits with its concept in a way that words cannot do them justice, so maybe it would be best not to try. I’ll close this review by saying that this album was my introduction to Carach Angren and I’ve recently checked out their back catalogue and they are now firmly installed as one of my favourite black metal bands, with this being one of the best black metal releases of 2010.
(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)
- more than 2 years ago
- 0 comments
- Report #229863