Carach Angren’s fourth release opens with some softly used symphonic instruments that increase the feeling of darkness & evil. This is a storybook opening with the title, Once Upon a Time…
This leads nicely into There’s no Place Like Home & the black metal side of the symphonic black metal band. It’s a bone-crunching song combining heavy riffs & some really dark vocal work. It’s guttural while retaining some semblance of melody.
The brief violin opening of When Crows Tick on Windows is a bit strange as the song quickly devolves into a ‘by the numbers’ black metal track. It does vary throughout & even has some spoken word sections. Sadly it fails to capture the imagination.
The excellently titled Two Flies Flew into a Black Sugar Cobweb is a well-built song that shows off Carach Angren’s range of abilities. The middle of the near 8-minute song really comes across haunting & the drumming is lightening fast (if not a bit quiet but that’s a problem that plagues the album as a whole).
At this stage of the album it’s hard to properly take in just what you’re hearing & Dreaming of a Nightmare in Eden does little to clear anything up. A short number that uses symphonic instruments instead, it is unremarkable to say the least. Thankfully Possessed by a Craft of Witchery is instantly much more listenable & stays that way throughout. A great song really showing just how well symphonic black metal can be done.
Killed and Served by the Devil continues the improvement with some of the best guitar/drum combinations of the album so far.
The penultimate song on the album, The Witch Perished in Flames uses its symphonic elements to try & create a more eerie background to the general heaviness of the track. It works well in the lulls between blasts of the guitar.
Tragedy Ever After ends the ride in a flurry of what has come before while also carving out its own path. Lacking a lot of the rhythm of the previous few songs it makes up for that with its evilness throughout. The final spoken word section backed up by violin has to be a slammed though as the lyrical content explains that the story you’ve just listened to was basically a dream & the real nightmare is actually reality…what? really?
A really hit & miss album that has plenty of moments that will impress but not enough to blow you away. If this was a bands’ first album I would be praising it but this seems more like a step backwards.
Carach Angren – This Is No Fairytale (Season of Mist)