Review Summary: An intricate nightmare; a realization of your most beautiful dreams and coldest fears
Carach Angren have succeeded in crafting a record that not only excels in terms of instrumental excellence, but also in the creation of such a vivid and dark atmosphere that it seems as if light itself may be extinguished. In terms of musicianship, “Where the Corpses Sink Forever” (WCSF) maintains a high standard of excellence and consistency throughout, with vocalist Dennis “Seregor” Droomers being the standout positive.
Having the vices and virtues of both classical symphonic music and black metal at your disposal gives you potential in terms of emotional and atmospheric medium rivalled by few other musical styles. However Carach Angren have not let their music become unfocused or convoluted as a result of the marriage of two separate genres. The steely bleakness of black metal is used to great effect in supporting the beautifully sombre, and at times, frightful symphonic passages and vice versa. Opening track (not including the intro) “Lingering in an Imprint Haunting” immediately displays this with a chilling introduction of violins and piano that performs in tandem with the band proper to bring to life a dark and depressing, yet equally beautiful artwork. As well as providing vocals, Seregor charges forward with cold and sharp black metal riffs whilst also employing intelligent melody here and there. The bass (also handled my Seregor) remains largely pedestrian, yet this surprisingly doesn't take away from the music at all. Drummer Ivo “Namtar” Wijers rarely explores or innovates past the tried and tested black metal drumming style, yet uses it very intelligently allowing him to take a back seat to the vocals, symphony and guitars.
Vocalist Seregor is the clear cut highlight of WCSF. He stands apart from the vast majority of his peers by being album to not only possesses a pure and visceral “classic” shriek, but also having nearly flawless articulation along with it. As well as his voice and articulation, Seregor’s lyrics are able to breathe life into the bleak and cold instrumentation with passages such as:
“Hector was nine In school, making colorful drawings most of his time.
One day he made this horrible portrait of a dead man and his child.
The teacher was shocked! How could such a young lad draw pictures so sad"
Hector was asked to explain.
He replied: "It's me and daddy in the attic;
When we are dead!."
Cold and dead!
Later that day, the boy left school early. Hector ran away. When he came home, he found his daddy's revolver. Now it's time to play. While father slept, his son blew his brains all over the bed. Then he went upstairs to the attic. There the kid shot himself through the head.
Cold and dead!
Mother came home and saw her husband. Mother came home and saw her son. Her soul collapsed and her heart froze. After the funerals she took an overdose.”
The strikingly theatrical nature of the lyrics coupled with the almost perfect pronunciation allows you to lose yourself within this record and bask in its beautiful depressiveness.
Many metal bands have used symphony as a gimmicky tool to get popular with those less initiated in extreme music. Yet what Carach Angren have done is use both black metal and classical symphony in a way where both support the strengths of the other. With standout lyrics, vocals and overall excellent instrumentation these Dutch metallers have crafted an incredibly vivid and atmospheric album that avoids feeling generic and forced, and instead invokes a truly nightmarish yet beautiful mental scene that will remain a memorable experience for all those that open themselves to it.