Review Summary: One of the greatest melodic death metal records ever released and my personal all-time favorite.
It goes without saying that melodic death metal has turned out to one of heavy metal’s greatest and most successful achievements. To think that Sweden would have become the powerhouse that we all know and love today beforehand would have been quickly dismissed. Melodic death metal started to take shape in the late nineties as new styles were beginning to be introduced to the hungry masses. One style was the new wave of British heavy metal and the other was American death metal. I could easily write six paragraphs explaining how melodic death metal took shape and form but I think by now the sputnik community is quite versed in this department so I’ll just get on with the show. It goes without saying that Sweden has played one of the most important roles in developing heavy metal. On the more melodic and popular side of things, Gothenburg had produced several luminaries such as In Flames, At The Gates, and Septic Boiler better known today as Dark Tranquility. The success and popularity that these three bands have shared together for the past 10 years is greater than anything we can imagine. Often overlooked but just as influential was Ceremonial Oath, formerly named Desecrator. The band had a quick run that ran from early 1990 to 1995. Although the band was only together for 5 years the band managed to release two superb melodic death metal record in that span.
“Carpet” was the bands second and last parting gift to the metal community in 1995, ironically the same year as At The Gate‘s swan song. The year of 1993 saw the band release their first album in “The Book Of Truth” but saw two founding members exit the ranks. No matter though, Jesper Stromblad and Oscar Dronjak were immediately replaced by Mikael Andersson and Thomas Johansson. Rounding out the group was Anders Frieden on vocals, Anders Iwers on guitar and Markus Nordberg on drums. Carpet also featured vocals from Tomas Lindberg from At The Gates fame on three separate tracks so you could say this is quite the star studded affair. Ceremonial Oath play the older and greater style of melodic death metal emphasizing Morbid Angel’s raw heaviness with Iron Maiden’s penchant for cutting edge melodies and powerful soloing. Although Carpet is extremely hard to find and rather short, kicking the 30 minute mark I have to say that this album should be sought immediately if you don’t already have it.
Does anyone remember when Ander’s actually possessed a great metal voice? Yeah I do too and it seems like so long ago but it’s great to reflect on his glory days nonetheless. It’s safe to say that Ander’s had a relatively productive year in 1995 with both Carpet and The Jester Race being released at this time period. All of the vocals on this album are delivered in an incredibly raspy and sometimes deep growling manner thanks to the Tomas/Anders tandem. I always loved Tomas’s delivery since the first time I heard Slaughter Of The Soul and I can’t say that I was left disappointed here either. Onto the guitar work now. The duo of Mikael and Ander’s set the bar pretty high for the widely known and often maligned Gothenburg riffing style. They deliver the goods with a plethora of epic riff patterns that are as catchy as they are heavy. Lead guitar is very melodic and pays an obvious homage to Iron Maiden with jolting solos popping out from every corner of the earth. The rhythm guitar is performed just as wonderfully while it’s held in charge for keeping a steady foundation intact for lead to shine. Thomas’s bass playing is performed pretty well and not clouded in the mix. His finger tapping is incredibly catchy, following the guitars with ease. Drumming is pretty standard double-bass and rapid fill patterns but Markus is a talented drummer at that. All in all, a solid display of musicianship from the young lads who would later grow up to be famous in Tiamat, In Flames, and At The Gates.
As for recommended tracks I’d go with the opener “The Day I Buried or the stunning rendition of Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name. That’s just me though, in fact I can’t even really comment on which tracks I would mention as the best because all seven are pretty solid. This leads me to my next point that “Carpet” is one of the most accessible metal albums to get into so lovers of The Gallery, The Jester Race, and Slaughter Of The Soul should find this album just as much or even more enjoyable than I do. As for cons I would name a few things in particular. Most notable would be the length and possibly the production of the album. Unfortunately Carpet is pretty short and I would have loved to see the band boost out a few other tracks with this. I’m hoping that in the future that a proper record label decides to re-release Carpet because the availability for this album is quite poor. As of now the only copy of this I can find is off of Amazon for more than a hundred bucks. Yikes! Fans of melodic death metal look no further.