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Carach Angren – Franckensteina Strataemontanus Award winner

Carach Angren
Franckensteina Strataemontanus
by "Der Bärtige Mann" Gareth Beams at 03 July 2020, 8:32 AM

In ‘The Lord of the Rings’ "Carach Angren" is Sindarin for "Iron Jaws", a fortified pass into Mordor.

The Dutch Symphonic Black Metal now duo release their sixth Full-Length album. On February 10, 2020, drummer Ivo "Namtar" Wijers left the band. According to him, the departure was motivated by "dissatisfaction with the music industry". Seregor and Ardek posted the announcement on the band's official website, revealing that the exit was a friendly one, saying, "Although we are very sorry for your departure, we respect your decision".

Scourged Ghoul Undead” kicks off the album following the intro from “Here in German Woodland” which sounds like it should be in a Grimm Fairytale, it probably is but I cant find which one, anyway. The first actual song starts off with a decent melody, no easing into the song, but there is a spoken word from the same dude that spoke in the intro, so it sorta has its own intro. The song really kicks in once the spoken word has ended, the melodies start expanding and filling up. There is a good pace, not too fast, but well-balanced and controlled as the vocals run through the instrumental harmonies. The lyrics song like they are continuing the Grimm story, its not a bad fit for the song at all. The melodic side to the band really helps to enhance their own symphonic skills, you know that they are hitting targets and they know what they are doing. This is a decent start to the album, they give you exactly what you expected, and more.

Franckensteina Strataemontanus” starts the build up with some more harmonic expanding melodies, the vocals kick in before the harmonies have expanded too far, seeming more like a tuned down song, but this is probably what they were going for. Weirdly it sound smore like something DETHKLOK would have done, as far as tempo and calling themselves God, it’s a different, but decent idea. Not a bad, shorter song, but I don’t think the rest of the album will follow suit. “The Necromancer” opens up slowly again, matching more of the previous son, so I was wrong. The aggression on the vocals is there, not extreme but you can hear it. The instrumentalists haven’t had the chance to open up in the first minute, though with all the percussions it sounds more like a dark fairytale again, this is their way of doing things. There is an aggressive approach in certain vocals like we hear from BEHEMOTH, the song is dark but not as dark as maybe it could have been, but saying that, there is nothing wrong with the song.

Sewn for Solitude” made me laugh coz it sounded like a cover of Antiques Roadshow to start off, so I had to start the song again. As the melodies expand you can hear that the song is more experimental and progressive than the others before, showing a new depth and skill to the band’s already impressive arsenal. The dark fairytale continues as the song sounds like it is on a journey within itself, such a well-worked song. “Operation Compass” opens with a new style of sample. The melodies sound more like a war march, but fits in well with the sample. The tempo and heaviness aren’t where I thought they would be, medium-paced and little guitar work to start off, almost like the vocals needed to be heard as instructions. The further into the song the more it appears to be a war march, it works as a filler song without appearing as one, well played.

Monster” continues with the war march approach. Some bands love to paint the picture. Other than the lyrical change there is very little change, pace hasn’t picked up much and nothing really new has happened, it still works well for the album and the placement although its obvious, not every band makes it work. “Der Vampir von Nürnberg” was released first and the band had this to add, “We proudly present you ”Der Vampir von Nürnberg”, taken from our upcoming album. The song is a sub-story connected to the overarching horrifying concept on the album. Welcome to the world of a gruesome killer and vampiric necrophiliac dabbling in the wickedness of the occult!” So we know it’s a further chapter in the story, this chapter is faster and heavier, a good change. Because I’m a serial killer nerd I knew this was also a not so well-known killer: Kuno Hofmann, he was the vampire of Nürnberg, not as famous as Düsseldorf’s Vampire, Peter Kürten. There you are learning new shit as you listen to this beautifully orchestrated masterpiece, song of the album for the successful changes? Maybe.

Skull with a Forked Tongue” keeps the overall pace going into the next chapter of this spell binding story. This one expanded more again, the harmonies flowing perfectly within its own melodic powers. The balance remains spot-on again, the song never seems to even flirt with the idea of losing control no song this far has. The symphonic creations in this song are so perfectly executed that you feel like going through the motions with the song itself, its so hard to turn away. Brilliant song. “Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam” starts off like something from Black Swan, is this a new ballet feature? The piano is beautiful, even if its not expected. The further it goes the more it sounds like a Danny Elfman masterpiece from a film. The vocals cut through the Classical side of things, but instead of removing them they play along side the rest of the instrumentalist skills. The song progresses and gets heavier adding more skills to this song, how much more can they add? Its exactly what you expect from a symphonic ideal, but a shock from a Metal band, in theory, not like we have never heard this sorta thing before.

Frederick's Experiments” ends all thoughts of the Black Swan intro, the aggression is there from the start. The melodic build up works very well again, expanding on the harmonies really well. It’s a fiery end to the album that never fades out and is executed brilliantly.

This is a story that needs to be heard by all, a brilliant album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Here in German Woodland
2. Scourged Ghoul Undead
3. Franckensteina Strataemontanus
4. The Necromancer
5. Sewn for Solitude
6. Operation Compass
7. Monster
8. Der Vampir von Nürnberg
9. Skull with a Forked Tongue
10. Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam
11. Frederick's Experiments
Dennis Droomers aka Seregor – Lead Vocals & Guitars & Backing Vocals
Clemens Wijers aka Ardek – Keyboards, Piano, Orchestrations, Backing Vocals & Bass
Ivo Wijers aka Namtar – Drums & Percussion
Record Label: Season of Mist


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Edited 14 August 2020

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