Fall of Carthage – The Longed-For Reckoning ReviewThe monkey’s paw is gripped tightly in your hands, a mangy curio purchased on your recent travel abroad. The wizened fakir that sold it to you promised it could fulfill any wish, an absurd statement but here in the stillness of your room curiosity has sunk its claws deep into you and a whispered plea escapes your lips: “I wish for an album that can recapture the sound of early Machine Head.” The paw shudders and before you materializes a copy of The Longed-For Reckoning, the second full-length by German thrashers, Fall of Carthage. You stare unblinkingly as your brain struggles to reconcile the musical apparition that has just been willed into existence. It works! Tremulous with excitement, you settle down for what you hope will be a satisfying slab of classic American-inspired thrash, but in the back of your mind lurks the fakir’s parting words: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Judged solely by the first few tracks, The Longed-For Reckoning does a respectable job of sublimating any initial doubt as tight, crunchy riffs backed by impactful and powerful percussion presents a confident first impression. Opener “Fast Forward” keeps things simple with short, measured chords that alternate between kick-drum and muted riffs, bearing more than a passing resemblance to …And They Shall Take Up Serpents by Byzantine. Nothing fancy but the tone is strong and it gets the head nodding. Sascha Aßbach’s gruff vocals recall Janne Kerminen from Finland’s Am I Blood, a band most notable for incubating Pasi Koskinen for a brief spell before he slipped from the womb to suckle at the teat of Amorphis. With its drawling, groove-ridden chords, “They’re Alive” is the point that Machine Head’s influence begins to be keenly felt, Aßbach here transitioning from a Rob Flynn dilettante to an outright duplicate. Indeed, Aßbach’s lyrebird-like imitation is so convincing that you have to wonder if he was cloned in a vat from Flynn’s discarded toenail clippings.

At this point, it may seem that the fakir’s warning was misplaced. But when “Swept to the Edge” shifts into rap-style vocals, your confidence sinks as fast as your gorge rises and the horrible conclusion dawns: the wish has delivered early Machine Head, only it has pulled from The Burning Red and Bulldozer. If this was The Longed-For Reckoning’s most egregious sin then the wound would remain shallow, after all, The Burning Red is excellent despite its nu-metal leanings and “Swept to the Edge” is not devoid of merit. Ah, but the monkey’s paw is unwilling to let fate settle so lightly.

With “Whodini Peckerwood,” Fall of Carthage go completely off-piste and present a track indistinguishable from a crass, vapid “gangsta” rap song save for a handful of guitar riffs. Admittedly the beats and samples aren’t too bad but it’s a tough call having to stomach “Whodini motherfucker/Peckerwood motherfucker” being flung your way. Worse still is “Puerile Scumbag,” a miserable attempt at a subversive hip-hop track that has the ignominy of sounding like the B-side to a Limp Bizkit record. No one should ever have to endure hearing “Skippidy, bibbity-bop!” being spat at them.

Fall of Carthage 2017

It’s evident by this point that the band is unconcerned with the natural order of things nor with sating listener expectations so it’s hardly surprising that this album is burdened with sixteen songs. With an average track length of around 4-minutes the album clocks in at approximately an hour but as the songs offer little variety fatigue sets in two-thirds of the way through. It’s astounding that at no point did Fall of Carthage come to their senses and pare down the swollen track count, but if they were capable of such lucidity then they wouldn’t have inflicted the previously mentioned sonic monstrosities. Pleasingly the album is mixed well, producing a massive, visceral sound despite the meager dynamic range. Interestingly a few of the tracks are mastered with a very wide dynamic range but again the monkey’s paw stirs as they’re reserved for — you guessed it — those very same red-headed step-children.

The album has come to an end and all is silent. Your gaze returns to the monkey’s paw, its uncaring, knurled fingers still interlocked with your own. It’s painfully clear now that you got what you asked for but not what you wanted. You curse your luck but deep down you knew it would come to this — imitation comes easy but innovation is much harder. Wish you knew this sooner.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 160 kbps mp3
Label: MDD Records
Websites: fallofcarthage.com | facebook.com/FallOfCarthage
Releases Worldwide: January 27th, 2017

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  • basenjibrian

    That band photo just screams “I am 25 years old and so very ironic”

    • Thatguy

      Except for the guy on the right – as noted below. Anyway, to me the band photo screams – 2.0 max.

      A really entertaining review though. Thanks.

  • basenjibrian

    Except for the dude 8n the back. He should be opd enough to know better.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      He looks like he’s the singer/bass player in a Sodom cover band and is just filling in on bass for his buddies’ band.

      • basenjibrian

        Lol. Gawd you nail it! Just like the drummer for Worm Ouroboros ( one of my fave bands) looks like uncle filling in for his cool metal niece or something.

  • Ed Howard-Jones

    This website just gets better and better at conjuring up amazing images with reviews like this that, even without an album to supplement them, are worthwhile pieces of literature. I’d love to write for this site at some point, but damn my writing has to improve a hell of a lot in order to even come close to matching the quality of stuff like this.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      You also need to come up with a cool pseudonym.

  • Frost15

    If you analyze closely that cover… it’s there… the second sphere of the year… http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cc02cc6242d6d43700155b0c5a95ec6e8bb71932d6ad8d4fd3dc6b6a1b7fd1e5.jpg

  • Frost15

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9cc53caa2392162cc320975acc809ba012682c8b2353fb7730e6705e42ef6582.jpg If you analyze that cover closely you can see it… the second sphere of the year…

  • hahah, thanks for taking the time to publish this awesome written review man. honestly. :) most sites just copy and paste the promo text. the good thing about FOC is that all 3 of us are just doing what we feel and want to. it’s not imitation, it’s influence and yes we’re that old. we’re experimenting a lot and we’re not trying to fit into some genre or two and please a certain crowd, we’re doing what we like and hope for others to feel the same. of course this doesn’t make everyone happy. especially not those looking for the typical structure of a metal album. I appreciate your words. It’s boring to read only half-baked praise. Keep it up.

    • Treble Yell

      Hey, thanks for reading it. A band should always furrow their own trough so good on you guys for striving for something different.

  • METAL OTTER

    Of course they sound like early Machine Head, drop a hip hop track halfway and have nu-metal leanings – the Fall of Carthage is ancient history!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Dilettante, off-piste… you sure have a knack for making me pick up the dictionary, Treble Yell!

    • Treble Yell

      I only discovered off-piste recently but this album presented the perfect opportunity to deploy it.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        What’s the point of learning something if you’re not going to use it, right?

  • I remain unconvinced of the Byzantine comparison, plus comparing these guys with one of my favourite bands leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. :(

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Weird that guitar only has 6 strings.
    Embedded track is cool except for the talky bits at the end…which seemed a bit unnecessary. I’m interested.