Carach Angren - Dance and Laugh Among the Rotten [Season of Mist - 2017]Carach Angren are a Dutch Black Metal band, with one foot firmly planted in the sphere of the symphonic. The band released their demo The Chase Vault Tragedy in 2004, this was followed up quite quickly with the release of their debut EP Ethereal Veiled Existence the following year. It was another three years before their debut full length Lammendam was released in 2008. Dance and Laugh Among the Rotten is the bandís fifth full length release, and their third for Season of Mist records. The bandís style has matured over the years into their own unique brand of symphonic horror soundtrack inspired Black Metal.
Ok moving on to the music, the opening track, simply called Opening is very reminiscent of some of the music from John Carpenterís classic soundtrack to Halloween. The simple piano riff with orchestral backing works beautifully as an opener. Charlie is up next, brutal yet melodic with some wonderful orchestral backing, comparisons to Dimmu Borgir are not without merit, however there is a malevolence and brutality to the music that is often missing from Dimmu Borgirís music. Blood Queen takes things up a notch, technical, fast and brutal riffs are beautifully complemented by some fantastic melodies, and when the track descends into mock nursery rhyme it is both gentle and filled with menace. Charles Francis Coghlan is up next, complex and with more than a hint of traditional folk influences this seems to be the albumís centre piece. Not especially fast it does however have some really interesting and unusual melodies for a Black Metal track, and whilst it is quite challenging it is performed with an heir of certainty and confidence that leaves one humming along. Not something you can often say about Black Metal offerings in the twenty first century. Song for the Dead is up next, the opening lines are sung in a style reminiscent of Alice Cooperís more horror inspired work. This is a welcome change from the more extreme style of music spread across the rest of the album and is one of my personal favourites. Darren Charles
In De Naam Van De Duivel kicks off the second half of the album, the pace is picked up and we are instantly transported into more traditional fare, however the songís influences are varied and there are hints throughout that draw you back to other types of music. Pitch Black Box is up next, this is again more standard symphonic Black Metal fare, but beautifully done. The Possession Process and final track Three Times Thunder Strikes follow on where the previous couple have left off, but again these are well done and represent some of the best melodic Black Metal tracks I have heard recently.
Elaborate and beautifully structured instrumentals vie for attention with brutal, textured, layered Black Metal, Carach Angren are dancing to their own tune at times on this release, much of the melodic material takes a different spin on things and the soundscapes add a sense of macabre colour to the proceedings whilst still retaining the brutality of their contemporaries. The influence of the horror movie soundtrack is never far from earshot during the albumís fairly short, but perfectly formed 41 minutes, and I for one will be returning to this in the coming weeks. A very pleasant entry from a band I have never actually heard before, whose back catalogue I shall be seeking out.