Carach Angren - Death Came Through A Phantom Ship [Season of Mist - 2013]“Death Came Through A Phantom Ship" is the second album from this horror & ghost story themed Dutch symphonic black metal three piece. It originally appeared back in 2010, this recent reissue offers up the out of print original album with a selection of three unreleased tracks, that take in new versions of older songs & rare demo out-takes.
The album is a concept based, and it tells of the gruesome events unfolding at sea after a captain and his crew encounter a ghost ship out on the dark deep ocean, along the origins of the ghost ship it’s & it’s own unholy captain.The albums nine original tracks manger to tell the creepy story very well, with each track standing as a chapter in the bigger story. Yet also a lot of the tracks work well as stand alone tracks too, as they often have their own memorable melodies, good atmospheric grounding, and clever compositional construction
The projects sound clearly owes a lot to the likes of Cradle Of filth, Dimmu Borgir, and later more symphonic focused Emperor. Yet there are also elements of horror metal & more prog rock horror themed projects here too, from time to time King Diamond is brought to mind(not really in vocals, but more compositional), and even Italian-Slovenian experimental/ prog rock collective Devil Doll ( mainly vocally, but some compositional).Also as already mentioned there is often a keen ear here for memorable song craft, as well as great horror based cinematic.
Sonically it’s a mixture of melodic & dramatic black metal craft mixing together guitar, bass, & drums elements. With soaring & dramatic keyboards, banks of unholy choirs, and synthetic yet fairly authentic & dramatic sounding orchestrated work. The vocals go all the way from speedily spat & gruff, to more wordy barks, onto more moody spoken word horror story based, with the odd trace of clear theatrical/ backing vocals too.
There are three extra tracks here, and these take in two re-recorded versions of tracks from the bands 2005 ep Ethereal Veiled Existence, and one track from the bands 2004 demo The Chase Vault Tragedy. I’m afraid to say none of these extra tracks really reach the level of quality or replaybilty of the tracks from the orignal album. These extra tracks passable examples of symphonic black metal, and it’s interesting to hear how the bands compositional skills have improved- but I cant see myself returning to them often. I guess they’ve being added into attract long term fans of the project who brought the original version of album.
So to sum-up I must say I was very much taken “Death Came Through A Phantom Ship", as it offers up both memorable & dramatic symphonic black Metal, as well as a well written horror story/concept. I look forward to hearing more of this projects work in the futureRoger Batty