Review Summary: Carach Angren is back with the release of their tertiary album Where the Corpses Sink Forever, arguable their best work to date and the best black metal album of 2012.
Admittedly, Carach Angren are not doing anything out of the ordinary that warrants such a high album rating. They are neither unconventional nor unique compared to other black metal bands that incorporate some form of symphonic orchestration into their music. Actually, one would find that their music sounds almost the same in style and form as many of the artists that would come up on YouTube by searching the video tag "symphonic black metal". Yet there are aspects of their music that go either unnoticed or unappreciated that largely separate them from the rest of their peers - even if the genre's mildew of fans fail to acknowledge it. To them the only truly lucid advantage that Carach Angren has over the other bands that fall into their category of style is that they are "doing it better". But to this reviewer and other critical listeners their music is noticeably filled with interesting hooks and complex instrumental riffs of high replay-value that fit intricately and eloquently into the structure of their songs, especially those in which the dénouement has been prolonged. This is especially true of their vocals which have a story-book lyricism that adds a conceptual plot to their album Where The Corpses Sink Forever
(which is no exception to this precedent).
So other than the album being illustrated by admirable visual interpretations and representations, the audio content of the release stands on its own as testament to black metals development (even if Where The Corpses Sink Forever
is only –arguably- a few steps ahead of the rest of the genre). But what is here on this album is largely epitomic of the rating that accompanies this review. The reason being that there is a clear combination of beautiful baroque symphonic orchestrations (that are played on a keyboard), combined with vicious and heavy – yet equally eloquent and skillfully - played guitar riffs, and accompanying percussion that adds as much in emphasis to the parts played by the other instruments as it does its own attributes like bass presence and additional rhythm (often correlating to the chugs on the guitar). But if those caveats still leave those who have and have not heard the album skeptical, there is yet more to Where The Corpses Sink Forever
than that which has already been explicitly expressed!
A problem with Carach Angren’s past two releases is that when one reminisced in the memories of both albums the most commonly recalled moments were specific segments of various tracks, usually the obvious apex. The most coherent memories of a track from each were Bloodstains on the Captain’s Log
from Death Came From a Phantom Ship
, and The Carriage Wheel Number
. On Where The Corpses Sink Forever
the memorability is evenly spread amongst all of the albums contents, with the exception of the track General Nightmare
, which was this reviewer’s least favourite track off of the entire album (mostly because of the lack of energy and unappealing vocals). So compelling are a superfluous amount of moments that are distributed amongst Where The Corpses Sink Forever
’s tracks that it would be unfair to single out and lecture on about any one! There are just too many to mention and it would be an injustice to even try to generalize through a single or through several examples! It is entirely likely that as the listener is drawn in, she will become disjointed and immersed in the fictional/formalistic diagetics of the album.
Where The Corpses Sink Forever
succeeds in its ability to deliver all of the progress that fans were expecting from Carach Angren without them straying into a completely lateral or oblique direction. The release is certainly a strong contender for black metal album of the year and will likely be as enjoyable as has been mentioned here in this review with all of the elements and techniques that have been described. The band has also simultaneously succeeded in maintaining their position as one of the best current bands in symphonic black metal. It will be interesting to hear what their future albums will be like, and one can only hope that they are as enjoyable, interesting, and influential as Where The Corpses Sink Forever
, an album blessed with the fine love and passion that is so often lacking in contemporary metal music.