Carach Angren – This Is No Fairytale (Season of Mist)Tuesday, 10th March 2015
It is perhaps against their better judgment that Dutch symphonic black metallers Carach Angren decided to conceptualize their latest effort into a fairytale of sorts, the narrative lyrics prevent the album from being a great one. Indeed, this element of the album will no doubt be of some debate and maybe some derision. I’m referring to that part of the This Is No Fairytale experience: the vocals, which are (for better or worse) unavoidable. Since the band labels themselves as “horror metal”, they’ve never been ashamed to boast theatrical hokiness in their words and themes. Sounding like a nightmarish Tim Burton idea gone to black metal, these guys not only convey spooky, fantastical “evil” vibes well, but they also play really fucking well (this, the most important part). As their many worldwide fans know, this is a good band. Though probably with limited metalhead appeal, (their brand of symphonic/black/goth/horror whathaveyou isn’t going to appeal to all black metal fans, for example) the band manage to carve out their own place among the theatrically inclined set. Maybe they are today’s equivalent of Cradle or Dimmu, or something akin.
As stated above, you just can’t escape from the vocals on this album. Sure, like with most music they appear in every song, but it’s the story telling quality that stands out. Instead of some version of poetry (like most stuff), it’s lots of “and then they did” this, and “and then she saw” that.
From track three “When Crows Tick on Windows” – “The living room is trashed. There are bloodstains and pieces of glass everywhere. Father still passed out on the couch (where’s mother?). And why is there water dripping down the stairs? She walks up the staircase and sees her little brother holding on to the doorpost of the bathroom, as if he had just seen a ghost. His body is frozen, eyes wide open. He does not react to her voice (what’s wrong?). A tear rolls over his pale face. And then, the sight of their dead mother, floating in light red water flowing from the bathtub. She had left the water faucet open, taken an overdose of pills and slit both her wrists. No! She is dead! She is dead! Mother is dead!”
After this part of the tale comes the interesting part of the album, the ensuing riff/musical section is fantastic. That’s the thing with this album – great music, divisive vocals (croaked in black metal styling as per normal). Due to these, I don’t know what kind of replay value the album holds. The symphonic black metal part sees the band on top of their game however, so for fans of the band, TINF must be recommended. Take a listen to “Possessed by a Craft of Witchery” and see what you think.