Carach Angren - This Is No Fairytale 01These days the word “fairytale” conjures up quesy images of watered-down Disney films, of sickly sweet soundtracks that work their way so far under your skin they freeze your blood, and of delightful princesses toiling away in grueling mediocrity until they fall into the strong arms of an musclebound Prince Charming to live happily ever after… and that’s not metal! This wasn’t always the case. Back in the days of The Brothers Grimm, fairytales had a darker, more sinister side. Their narrations harbored tales of rape, incest, cannibalism, death and torture and other such grusome events. Hailing from the Netherlands, Carach Angren shy away from the Disney image and all it encompasses. Instead they don their elaborate corpse paint and follow in the tried and true footsteps of their grim predecessors, weaving a shocking and macabre tale of alcholism, abuse, suicide and pedophilia set against a blackened symphonic backdrop of melody and drama. So will Carach Angren‘s grisly tale lure you into their “house built of gingerbread, covered with cakes and a thousand sweets” or send you fleeing into the forest?

As with any respectable story, Carach Angren‘s frightful tale begins with “Once Upon A Time,” a nicely dynamic instrumental that has an undercurrent of desperation, growing in might and nuance as each new instrument joins the fray. Pleasentaries over, you’re knee deep in “There’s No Place Like Home,” “When Crows Tick on Windows” and “Two Flies Flew Into a Black Sugar,” each pumped up on damaging blast beats, stop-on-a-dime fills, melodic orchestrations, enveloping guitar work and narrations that shift between deranged screams and roaring croaks. Within each of the tracks, there are brief moments where This Is No Fairytale has more in common with the quirk and heaviness of Vesania, the frenzied melody and blasting of Naglfar and the less ostentatious side of latter period Fleshgod Apocalyse. Unlike the richness of the opening track, this section of the album is sorely lacking in dynmics, heading dangerously close to the production missteps taken by Fleshgod Apocalypse on Agony and LabyrinthWhen compared to the sound on Death Came Through A Phantom Ship and Where the Corpses Sink Forever, this is a ear fatiguing disappointment.

Carach Angren - This Is No Fairytale 02Around the mid-point of the album, Carach Angren make a return to their classic formula with “Dreaming Of A Nightmare In Eden.” This little number has the distinct feeling of an interlude, and the line “nibble nibble naw, is it a mouse nibbling at my little house?” perfectly describes how the track opens. While becoming more frenzied and drenched in danger, the song has more gradation than the earlier ones, providing a nice reprieve for everyone except Hansel, who’s informed that his lifeless flesh will be eaten while still warm.

The back-end of the album is a return to what you heard in “There’s No Place Like Home,” “When Crows Tick on Windows” and “Two Flies Flew Into a Black Sugar,” – the same crushing heaviness and frenzy most similar to that of Lammendam, broken up most noticeably by the bewitching melodies of “Possessed By A Craft Of Witchery” and big closer “Tragedy Ever After.”

While This Is No Fairytale is consistently Carach Angren and it’s a good fit for their discography, I’d be much more inclined to return to Death Came Through A Phantom Ship and Where the Corpses Sink Forever before this one. The fairytale is packed to the hilt with horrific narration that has me excited to read the entirety of the story, but the lack of subtleties and reprieves from the hammering makes me inclined to push it backwards in my playlist.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: CarachAngrenOfficial | Facebook.com/CarachAngren
Release Dates: EU: 2015.02.23 | NA: 02.24.2015

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  • Garak

    I haven’t absorbed this one enough yet, but a friend and I were noticing how it seems to lean a lot closer to death metal than black metal. It also feels somewhat uninspired compared to Where The Corpses Sink Forever, which is a lame grasping criticism but so am I.

    At least you can hear the guitars on this one. **frowns at WTCSF**

    • Yeah I had a lot of the same thoughts when I was listening to it. It also has moments where it feels done before…. either by them or others which sucks because I think their story rocks.

  • Lordeggaron

    I listened to this the other night and I enjoyed most the elements but surprisingly I did not enjoy the lyrical content. Musically its very spooky and fun!

    • I can’t see fairytales being everybodies cup of tea… it seems a very narrowly targeted subject to me. I hope they’re not running out of concept ideas.

      • tomasjacobi

        SLIGHT SPOILERS!
        If you get to read the lyrics you’ll see that fairytales are not the subject but more of a diversion. That’s actually the whole point of the story. I can’t say anymore without going into full spoiler territory…

        • Yeah I picked up on that. I found some of the lyrics online but not all. Very keen to read the rest.

          • Mark Hunt

            I’m pretty sure the lyrics are all on Metal Archives. Nothing to get too excited about though.
            They are venturing into almost untouched territory with the concept of the album, but frankly whoever wrote the lyrics has absolutely no talent.
            They are not eerie, they are not spooky, they aren’t even thought provoking or shocking. They are blunt, straight forward and boring.

          • Here’s Johnny

            What a load of shit! A band known for their concepts/spooky stories and lyrics have no talent lyrically? Hello troll! They might look blunt written down but you have to listen to the music with them. Have you even listened to it?

          • Mark Hunt

            Yes.

    • Erik Gbrl

      I’m a huge fan of them, but I’m not going to stoop down to delusional fanboy status and say it’s their best. The story is disturbing, and gory, which is great, but the lyrics… I don’t even know what to say besides poorly written. The music itself is just Carach Angren, but really not as good as their 3 previous lp’s. DCTAPS is my favorite, and I immediately compared TINF to it, whether that was a mistake or not, TINF is really underwhelming in comparison. :/

  • Doomdeathrosh

    I read your first paragraph, im like “So Damn Right!”….but the embed video is….is a fairy tale from hell! And its nice as a fairy tale but the metal is not as good as their previous releases….

    • Yeah, agreed.

    • Here’s Johnny

      Really not sure why people on here are saying this, the metal is far better. The riffs were in the background on previous albums at times, it now has a death/thrash feel and fucking rocks in my opinion.

  • Guest

    I find this as about as intriguing and scary as your average 2015 Horror Film.

  • Wilhelm

    I find this about as intriguing and scary as your average 2015 Horror Film.

    • Lol yeah, I’m not sure why they picked the subject they did… I don’t think fairytales are for everybody.

      • Wilhelm

        it’s really the music, not the subject that I have little interest in.

        • Here’s Johnny

          Why you on this review then?

    • Here’s Johnny

      Your name is Wilhelm……but you are not interested in Jacob Grimm and his brother Wilhelm Grimm. Riiiight!

      • Wilhelm

        I think the classic fairy tales have their place, Haggard’s upcoming album will feature this concept hopefully in a much better way.

        • Here’s Johnny

          Not a fan of Haggard.

  • tomasjacobi

    I have only listened to the whole LP once because life keeps interfering with my music listening hobby :-)
    So whether the musical side will hold up compared to the previous albums remains to be seen for me.
    The lyrics, however, are very good this time.
    I always found their ghost stories a bit silly. The Flying Dutchman is not really that scary unless you’re a superstitious sailor.
    I think the choice to tell a story of real-life horror without any supernatural elements is much more scary.
    Of course once you’ve read the story once it’s the music that has to keep you coming back for more so we’ll see if this has what it takes in that department or if I should just go back to listening to “Death Came through a Phantom Ship”; silly lyrics aside, that album really works.

    • Here’s Johnny

      ‘Death Came Through a Phantom Ship’ is a fantastic album but probably has limited appeal, this new album is much more fitting to them getting more well known. You must have noticed that all the major magazines/horror sites have articles about this new album. This is when they start to get all the criticism that they are leaving their ‘old’ sound behind and people say ‘i will stick to the older albums/they were better back then’. I love all their albums but for me this album is the next step up.

      • tomasjacobi

        Wait a minute… Are you that guy who likes Carach Angren…?

        • Here’s Johnny

          What guy?

  • Here’s Johnny

    Oh no not again haha. I have still to listen to the whole album but for me this album seems a major step up for them in every aspect. For example previous albums had poorer productions and riffs, slightly hokey stories(even though i loved them). The musicianship and production values have took a massive step forward, its more aggressive and downright viscous sounding.

    I don’t agree about lack of dynamics, now that the riffs are much more to the forefront they are using it to awesome effect. 1 min:18 secs into the above song is a great example. On previous albums it was a bit airy fairy, now its pounding and in your face. Every song has dynamic changes to it.

    This is when you see a underground band get more well known.
    Now they have major magazines picking them up and i’ve seen plenty of rave reviews. Not sure if it will beat Keep of Kalessin new album(which is a barn stormer), I wasn’t surprised to see a 2.5 here though but will be back with a full review.

    • Lol we’re destined to disagree it seems. There’s a definitely drop in the production on this album, 2 of the songs hit around the 7-10 DR range which is good on the hearing, and the rest are around 4 or 5. For a band relying on fluctuating melodies and build up in suspense and dramatics, that takes a serious knock when everythings in your face all the time (so to speak).

      Where the Corpses Sink Forever has tracks ranging from between 7 to 12 DR and Death Came Through a Phantom Ship ranges between 9 to 10 DR both of these albums have beautiful subtleties and you can pick up on them in an instant… they are a little airy fairy, I agree with you there, but they’re great anyway.

      I love the agressiveness of This Is No Fairytale – don’t get me wrong, I think that’s an absolutely awesome move on their part… they needed to show are more agressive side after their last two albums, but for me personally I want agression and a dynamic mix.

      I’m looking forward to hearing what your thoughts are in the full review :)

      • Here’s Johnny

        Haha yup. Hmm well to do deal with the production first, i listened to it on FLAC and it sounds great to me. It does suffer from a bit of the usual distortion at velocity but that is a problem for all modern recordings. However, it is a million miles ahead of Fleshgod’s mess of a production on their last album. Dynamic range is a difficult thing to pin down really, correct if i am wrong but i don’t think there is a consensual official definition of it?

        I don’t think this album was meant to be so suspenseful though. It is in your face from the off, the first 3 songs(“There’s No Place Like Home,” “When Crows Tick on Windows” and “Two Flies Flew Into a Black Sugar,”) are just immense and exciting. Then you get to ‘Dreaming of a Nightmare ‘n Eden’ which brings the aggression levels down in an amazing way but then goes mad in the middle again. There is no let up, they are in for the kill on this album.

        By the time you get to ‘Possessed By A Craft Of Witchery’, this is a band definitely enjoying themselves. You can hear everything, you really notice the bass on this one although i can hear it through the whole album anyway. Another incredible track with more time changes, riffs, orchestral accompaniments you can shake a stick at.

        ‘Killed and Served by the Devil’ – Just my fave track on the whole album, bits of death/thrash mixed in. The intent in this song can be felt a mile off and the vocals are fabulous.

        ‘The Witch Perished in Flames’ is the most death metal track on the album, second half of the track fucking awesome as usual.

        ‘Tragedy Ever After’ – Epic closer, sounding a bit more like aggressive older Dimmu here(fine by me as SBD is one of their best).

        I can understand why some might be disappointed but for me this is the album they needed to make, ratchet up the production values and aggression. They really do sound sinister and possessed this time. There is no meandering like on past albums, just sharpened skills and sheer intent.

        The passion they put into this album is just second to none, its actually exciting to hear because of this(you can feel it). This is me after so many jaded years of listening to metal. This band even get the corpse paint right.

        4.5/5 – This will be a classic in future, mark my words.

        • Here’s Johnny

          Can you tell i love this band? haha!

          • I sure can.

          • Here’s Johnny

            I edited my review a little bit, to add a couple of points.

            It’s funny how our opinions differ as that recent ‘Hate’ album you reviewed i have listened to only once, whilst i listened to their (imo)superior previous album ‘Solarflesh’ multiple times.

        • Jean-Luc Ricard

          Nice review! I’m not a Carach Angren fan at all though I’m afraid…

          DR could be defined in different ways, but I think usually it’s taken to be the difference between peak and average signal power (this is what the TT Dynamic Range Meter that provides the DR scores measures anyway).

        • Merijn Kooijman

          Horror that isn’t meant to be suspenseful? I have my doubts.

          Also, I don’t think that higher dynamics decrease the intensity of the whole in any way. On the contrary, higher dynamics would actually make music more into the face.

          • Here’s Johnny

            There is a lot of suspense on this album though, just that the overall intent/approach is more aggressive.

          • Merijn Kooijman

            Suspense and aggression that would have been more suspenseful and aggressive in a dynamic master. Jean-Lucs definition of DR seems fitting.

          • Here’s Johnny

            Not sure about that, i listened on FLAC and thought the production is really good.

            It suffers from some things that all modern recordings do, if they are getting a point taken off for that then every band should have the same applied by that logic. It is light years ahead of Fleshgod’s last album in DR.

          • tomasjacobi

            Listening in FLAC won’t make any difference at all. The problem with the production is the mastering. The band has decided to go for the EVERYTHING-IS-LOUD-ALL-THE-TIME type mastering that is so ubiquitous these days.
            It doesn’t make the music more aggressive or in-your-face. It just makes it louder at a given volume setting. The price you pay for the loudness is that the music sounds flat and lifeless. Especially the drums suffer because they need to be squashed by digital limiters so as not to distort when the volume is pushed close to maximum.
            Compare the drums from any of their earlier releases to this. I’ve heard wet blankets sound more powerful than the drums on …Fairytale.
            I will agree though that this is nowhere near as bad as the Fleshgod album. That album sounded like it had problems already in the mix. This one has a decent mix; the vinyl sounds great, so what ruins it is the decision to put the CD version through the LOUDNESS machine.

          • Here’s Johnny

            I didn’t mean FLAC would make a difference to the production or mastering, just that obviously it offers a lot of clarity. It’s an exact copy of the CD, rather than the 320 MP3. I really don’t see how someone can say this album sounds lifeless and flat, it certainly does not. It has some minor issues but overall it’s pretty bloody huge sounding considering the budget they are on.

            I didn’t say the production or mastering makes it more aggressive either, i’m saying this album is much more metal and has great riffs/aggression. Some songs are almost death metal sounding, ie my line ‘they are in for the kill’.

            I don’t think this album is particularly bad or is ruined by the mastering. Behemoth/Nile and Fleshgod’s most recent albums are examples of it going a bit wrong. Thing is those albums sound great out loud but not on headphones. Fairytale sounds good on both. The drums on the Satanist sound pretty bad but that album has met universal acclaim. I don’t think this album/Carach should be getting unduly criticised when there are much worse offenders and the fact that all modern albums suffer from this issue to an extent.

          • tomasjacobi

            It’s great that you like how the record sounds.
            I don’t agree however and given that the dynamic range on most of the songs measure between 4 and 5 dB compared to 9 & 10 dB on “Death Came…” seems to indicate that I’m not imagining things.

          • Here’s Johnny

            You just copied Madam x’s point haha. Dynamic range is very subjective.

            Despite any modern production/mastering pitfalls this album does sound pretty damn good. Sounds as good as any other extreme metal band. (In how it sounds) it’s a millions times better than Fleshgod’s last, better than The Satanist(hard to hear drums at all) and far better than Death Magnetic.

            The mastering is obviously not as warm as the previous two albums but somehow sounds far more professional.

          • tomasjacobi

            Sounding better than 3 of the worst sounding albums in the history of recorded music is SOMETHING, but it’s not MUCH…

          • Excellent point.

          • Horrorfiction

            Rather terrible point actually.

          • Here’s Johnny

            You serious? History of music? I don’t think so. For a start Priest’s recent album is worse than all 3 mentioned, then you have St Anger.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I just listened to their previous album and this one immediatley after. I like this new album a lot but pick a nice volume for the previous album and than follow it with this new album and you will be deafened by the new one. The production is drastically different. Still a good album and I’m enjoying it but they went skimpy on the production. Cleaner perhaps, but not better. Maybe a money issue. I don’t know.

          • Here’s Johnny

            I don’t think its lack of money, its just(as someone mentioned) been put through the loudness machine. Just about every metal band suffers from this these days. Nile’s last album was very clear but took your ears off on headphones.

          • Couldn’t agree more. Better dynamics would have added far more atmosphere and intensity and made bigger impact on me.

  • Mark Hunt

    The lyrical concept is very interesting. The lyrics themselves are immensely terrible. So bad, I’m usually torn between laughing and feeling embarassed for Carach Angren.
    No subtlety, not one somewhat clever line. Just terribly written lyrics about a touchy subject that, while shocking and all that, still has no effect if presented this bluntly and frankly without skill and thought.
    To me it seems like their only goal was shock value. No clue why they thought weaving a fairytale into the concept was a good idea, it doesn’t work at all and is super cheesy.

    • Here’s Johnny

      Carach Angren, no clever lines? Sure thing buddy! This album is meant to be blunt and without subtlety.

      • Mark Hunt

        “Driven by an intense anxietyThe second escape to safety
        They will never forget such a devastating sight
        The image of their mother’s successful suicide”
        That is tremendous work right there, they really put a lot of effort into the lyrics. Haha

        • Here’s Johnny

          You are taken it out of context, if you view the video for that song(Two Flies Flew Into A Black Sugar Cobweb) it makes sense.

          There’s No Place Like Home

          Once upon a time
          there stood a house of ill fame
          a drug property associated with violence and crime
          there lived a family in despair,
          sorrow and tragedy
          father was a drinker and a goddamn fiend
          a sadistic motherfucker who could not keep his hands off his own kin
          his soul was meant for the devil
          it was rotten from within…
          After all these years of sin.
          Mother was a skeleton whore,
          fucked up on heroin wine and pills
          whatever she could score
          more more more!
          Her black circled eyes were simply empty
          her body was bruised and scarred
          oh,life was hard!
          And if her sick alcoholic husband had a temper
          he would beat up his wife.
          One time he took a knife and stabbed her twice.
          No! Not deep enough-for she survived!
          Once their marriage,
          an enchantment of love and trust.
          Hopes and dreams became nightmares of shame,
          abuse and disgust,
          assault,assault!
          Domestic violence!
          Family battery!
          Rape,violence,violence,violence,violence!
          Assault,assault!
          Abuse,abuse,domestic violence!
          Assault,assault!
          Once upon a time
          they were blessed with two children
          a boy and a girl
          now by the age of twelve and nine
          traumatized and neglected
          in a household of blood
          tears and wine!
          One night,father became a completely insane
          the children awoke by a horrible tumult
          from downstairs,sounds of screaming,breaking glass and the throwing of chairs
          but the children fell asleep again
          and the girl had a disturbing dream:
          A stifling feeling of a hand covering her mouth,
          a smell of alcohol all around.
          She doesn’t understand and cannot defend herself.
          When will this suffocating dream end?
          Finally! She is able to breathe,but when her bastard father shut the door
          behind him she realized:
          This nightmare was no dream! No dream! NO DREAM!”

          Yeah no effort into the lyrics at all!. IMO the lyrics are very King Diamond-ish.

          • Mark Hunt

            I’m not saying the lyrics don’t make sense, I’m saying they are poorly written.
            Maybe it’s just because their style is completely not my cup of tea, I don’t know. I appreciate way more subtle and thought out lyrics that paint a picture in your mind instead of outright describing despicable acts.
            Take The 11th Hour’s album Burden of Grief as an example, during the storyline a young boy shoots himself with his father’s gun. In my opinion, Origins of Mourning has good lyrics. It doesn’t need a “his brains splattered across the wall” line in there.

            By the way, I really liked the ending to There’s No Place Like Home, one of the few parts on the album where the lyrcis worked for me. Great vocals there, too.
            But I still don’t think the album has well written lyrics. And it may very well be the language barrier, I don’t know.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    A general question…when will time be called on corpse paint?

    • Hopefully never… I’m a fan lol.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Im torn…I love the theatricallity but sometimes it seems a little old hat…

        • Yeah and it’s tough to imagine what more bands do to make it feel fresh. They’ve done the elaborate corpse paint, tthey’ve done the leathery armour type clothing and they’ve done the bullets and spikes… where to from there… body modification maybe?

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Watain have basically spoiled the fun for everyone else…

    • Here’s Johnny

      This band actually do the corpse paint thing right , wrong review to ask this on really.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Wasn’t offering an opinion on these guys, really more of a general question.

        • Here’s Johnny

          Well they have made it look cool again, so i don’t think its going anywhere fast. Behemoth do it right also.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    My pet hate the lyric video…
    This one is really dissapointing as the clip is fantastic, really well done but the impact of the powerful imagery is dulled by the (very) clunky lyrics.
    Unless the lyrics are really compelling or key to the listeners enjoyment bands shouldn’t use them in their promo clips.

  • Brian Kelly

    well that lyric video had pretty blunt & inarticulate lyrics, maybe thats the design they were going for. i think in metal especially, usually the preferred lyrical subject matter is less ‘real’ world and more based on allegories & inferences or explaining a situation through a story of a dragon ;) i would probably prefer their previous ghost story and stuff, but its mainly about the music, so id have to see how the whole album was. that song seemed pretty similar to previous songs.

  • Quite a curious band – perhaps the only discordant symphonic metal band. I’m not a fan of symphony without melody, but it’s surely a unique beast.

  • Here’s Johnny

    They are not even the official lyrics yet. I could take any bands lyrics out of context and it looks dumb.

    “Wake up dead, you die,
    Wake up dead, and buried,
    Wake up dead, you die,
    Wake up dead.”

    “Behold the flames rise,
    From the compass’ cardinal points,
    Burn the sacred oil,
    And, with the ashes you’ll anoint”

    “I was nearly pure
    When I said I loved you
    You were semi-sincere
    You said I’d bleed for you
    We were kind of candid
    Now you’re gone away
    You were almost honest, almost”

    What band is that?

  • Horrorfiction

    I for one think that this album is a step in the right direction. They listened to complaints about the lack of guitar in the previous albums, and boy has Seregor stepped up to the plate. Nasty, thick riffs with punishing drums courtesy of Namtar. Weak plodding? I recommend getting ears checked out loves! Ardek blesses us: instead of overpowering Dimmu BLAM BLAM ORCHESTRA we have a much more restrained, deeper sound.

    As for the general complaint about the lyrics, I can only note that down to the general autism of the metal community. Carach have always utilized straight-forward, story-like lyrics that describe the events as happen with clever usage of alliteration, rhythmic pattern and scheme. A WELCOME to the usual quasi-metaphorical “deep” lyrics of certain bands I could mention.

    All in all, a great album that requires a few spins to sink in. Great to see it’s stirring up some strong opinions, proves the band causes strong reactions.

    • Here’s Johnny

      “Carach have always utilized straight-forward, story-like lyrics that describe the events as happen with clever usage of alliteration, rhythmic pattern and scheme. A WELCOME to the usual quasi-metaphorical “deep” lyrics of certain bands I could mention.” Nailed it.

      • Horrorfiction

        I’m writing a full in-depth review for a proper webzine. I’ll share the link with you once it’s done.

        • Implying we aren’t “proper”? And no, you won’t be advertising your “proper webzine” here.

          • Here’s Johnny

            Hahaha. Aye, I’ve always imagined you as prim and proper ;)

          • Horrorfiction

            A man who limits his interests limits his life after all.

          • Here’s Johnny

            Don’t worry, just write a nice Jorn Lande review on that other webzine too and Steel Druhm will love you. If you do that, he will even advertise your webzine by writing it on his bare chest.

          • I wish I could say you were lying.

          • Horrorfiction

            The proper meant that the webzine is a legitimate source. Nothing to get your knickers in a bunch about.

    • Requiem

      *winces at derisive use of the word ‘autism’*
      Other than that, that was remarkably well written.

  • RagE

    I really enjoyed this one. I instantly found it to be better than their last effort. The riffs are better, the song structures are better, and they even go full blast a few times. I also agree that the record sounds more dynamic -in the song writing/structuring – One of the first things i noticed when putting on the LP was how flat the sound is. Had to twist my knobs for minutes until i was satisfied that it would not get any better. Strange, as “Death came..” sounded pretty good. maybe this is just denser.