As I understand it, Carach Angren is a fortified pass in North-Western Mordor. I have to wonder if this pass is as darkly romantic and complex to negotiate as this the latest offering by Carach Angren [I'm not sure any parts of Mordor are known for their romantic ambiance - AMG]. Anybody familiar with this Dutch band’s symphonic black metal style know that their albums follow a concept, story-book plot. Where the Corpses Sink Forever is no different. Despite following a tried and tested path, I found this 45 minute album far from boring. In fact it had me in its dark clutches right from the start.
The first track opens with the eerie sound of rain falling and Ardek’s keyboard arrangement backing a diary account that goes a little something like this: “Sunday, October 3rd, 6 pm. Rain. I was ordered to execute seven prisoners, lined up, blind-folded and chained to a stake in a field. It seemed as if my bullets couldn’t reach them. Instead the seven grinned, and seven horrible visions of war, one-by-one captured my soul.” Gunshot after gunshot after gunshot you can’t help but keep listening. Aptly the track’s titled “An Ominous Recording.” Yeah, I’ll give them that, it certainly sets an ominous tone.
Queue strings and orchestra, in wanders “Lingering in an Imprint Haunting.” The pace picks up and Seregor makes his long-awaited appearance. Seregor’s theatrical, but still traditional black metal style vocals and melodic guitar riffs lend to a memorable song that I felt the desire to return to again and again. I’ll unashamedly admit thought that it was the next track, “Bitte Totet Mich,” that earned itself some serious repeat play with me. After hearing Seregor’s opening scream well, go on I dare you, try to play it just once!
And that leads me to what was for me the greatest track on the album, “The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist.” It’s the longest track on the album, clocking in at just under 8:30. Around the 1:44 mark the violin kicks in. I don’t know if it’s just me, but adding violin to metal is an instant win. The song goes through tempo shifts, vocal and instrumentation changes aplenty, keeping it an exciting listen right until the bitter end.
While the remaining songs flow comfortably from one to the next, at no time do you experience boredom. Maybe this is in part due to the well placed maniacal laughter? I found it a little too contagious myself. Have a listen to the 3:04 minute mark of “Sir John,” you won’t regret it.
I found the production quality of this album outstanding. From the symphonic elements to the sound of falling rain and the eerie sound of gun shots, nothing’s left to the imagination. Seregor holds nothing back with his gut wrenching vocals and I found myself waiting for each and every lunatic scream. Thankfully, at no time does the album sound over produced. I can’t think of a single thing that I would want Carach Angren to have done differently here. I haven’t yet found details on the lyrics behind Where the Corpses Sink Forever. I won’t give up though, my search must go on.
If you love the sound of maniacal laughter, screams of death, ghost stories and water, then this is an album you won’t want to miss. As Seregor so aptly puts it in “General Nightmare” “Attack! Attack! Attack!” Who am I to argue. I plan to keep attacking this album with much gusto.