CARACH ANGREN - Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten (English version)

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  • Le mercredi, 12 juillet 2017
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CARACH ANGREN was somehow a revelation when I first saw them on stage, as support band for FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, in Le Petit Bain (Paris, France), in January. After this amazing show, I just had to close my eyes to mentally recreate the crazy performance of these Dutchmen, lead by their charismatic singer, Seregor!

However, CARACH ANGREN is, more than everything, a whole artistic universe! If Tolkien’s fans can find in their name a stronghold of the Mordor (“Iron Jaws”), the subjects of the songs are far more diversified, even if they are all related to paranormal and fantastic stuff. The band, born in 2003, is composed of Seregor (Dennis Droomers) on vocal, Namtar (Clemens Wijers) on the keyboard and Ardek (Ivo Wijers) on the drums. Their first demo, The Chase Vault Tragedy, is released in 2004, followed by the EP Ethereal Veiled Existence in 2005. But it’s only in 2007, when they join Maddening Media, and in 2008, with the release of their album Lammendam, that CARACH ANGREN truly received the recognition they deserve! In 2011, they join Season of Mist which is still their record label. After a tour with FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, which gave me the chance to see them on stage, the band announced the release of their fifth album for the 16th of June (and it is the perfect occasion for me to remind you that the great Peter Tätgtgren made the mixing; so if ever you had some doubt on the quality of the record itself, don’t hesitate anymore and throw yourself, body and soul, in this album). Here is my opinion on the full of surprises and promises Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten!

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As always, CARACH ANGREN immersed us in a more and more harrowing ambiance with the Opening, on the piano, with strings among which the strident violins will give you goose bumps. As in the musical parts of some Tim Burton’s movies, the piano melody is repeated and develops itself, surrounded with new instruments every time, but the fear remains. Then it disappears, opening the way to a Wagnerian orchestral ensemble. And the song Charlie comes next. A feminine lyrical voice, sounding as the singing of a ghost, and Seregor’s scream, possessed and magnificent, are placed on top of a really powerful rhythmic and guitar part! Some almost robotic voices are sometimes added. At the end, men voices appear to calm the song, which, nevertheless, ends on a soft but still disturbing melody. It continues immediately with Blood Queen, with an introduction which reminds me of some Visual Kei bands, but the singer’s shouts quickly bring me back to the dark universe of CARACH ANGREN. Totally rousing, this song will make you tap your foot without noticing. A break then comes with a spoken part, typical from the band, which sounds as an invocation, followed by a new-born cries, as a sacrifice maybe? As a hypnotic ritual, the guitar and the keyboard come back, supported by a strong drums part. A beautiful violin melody appears to perfect this song, emblematic of the album, according to me. The queen is ceaselessly appealed, let’s hope she won’t haunt you this night!

The next recording is Charles Francis Coghlan and has a great and terrific video clip which you can find easily on the internet. About the man, Charles Francis Coghlan was an actor and play-writer born in 1842 and deceased in 1899. A strange legend surrounds his death:  he died of illness in the city of Galveston, in Texas, when he was 56 ; in September 1900, this town was hit by a tropical storm which produced a tsunami, taking away buildings and corpses ; yet, in October 1908, some Canadian fishermen found, close to Prince Edward Island, a coffin on which it was written: “Charles Francis Coghlan, born in 1942 in Prince Edward Island, Canada, died in 1899 in Galveston, Texas.”. So he would have come back to his place of birth, once he died (for what it’s worth). This story seems to appear, for the first time, in a column of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! in 1929. But we should come back to CARACH ANGREN’s song! As often, it starts with a short introduction which ends with Seregor’s scream. Namtar hits his drums, without muffle his brother’s keyboard parts. Ardek is indeed weaving a melodic web around us, as a spider would do create a fascinating and deadly trap. The lyrics are, of course, about the story is explained you at the beginning. It may only be my impression but we feel the wave movements in the music. The keyboardist plays a solo on the piano, which announces the end. The music is getting softer and the melody turns out to be less tragic and, on the contrary, almost danceable, as a final waltz, leading the dead man to the conclusion of his travel. It is now time for Song For The Dead, the fifth song of this album. Once again, Ardek has the honor until a spoken voice joins him. Then the drummer comes into play. The song is solemn, majestic, almost haughty, as if the dead were laughing at us, poor mortals waiting to enter this other world which keeps so many surprises for us but which is well-known of them. Unless it is the man who mastered his fear of the hereafter who is singing in such an insolent way?

The sixth song is called In De Naam Van De Duivel and starts in an explosive way! Namtar goes crazy and establishes a devilish rhythm! He holds the main role for all the song, supported by Seregor and the whole band, which perfectly sticks to his beat, terribly lively! Alternating violent and fast parts with soft and melodic moments, the Wijers brothers seem to improvise a ballet, each one of them answering to the other in an endless move in which they sometimes find a common ground, always bearing the terrifying stamps of Seregor’s scream. Pitch Black Box opens into a deep piano introduction along with a great rhythmic part, which can only make you headbanging! Even if it respects the usual sounds and atmospheres of the band, CARACH ANGREN seems to get free of some norms by offering a more rousing song then what we would expect. Namtar’s rhythm holds a really important part in that, especially since the singer absolutely sticks to it. The Possession Process comes back to a more regular composition for the band, which however continues to push forward an innovative rhythmic. There is more breaks then in the previous song and the feminine lyrical voice re-appears to reinforce the stressing ambiance of the song Finally, Three Times Thunder Strikes is not left behind and comes back to the Black Metal roots thanks to a heavy melody and an oppressive voice. Ardek gives the word “symphonic” all its meaning with highlighted keyboard parts. The guitar takes a more important place here than in the rest of the album. In the middle of the recording, a break with the piano and some strings changes the atmosphere which will go on during the rest of the song with the whole band joining in. As if it would never end, this song slowly disappears.

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What can I say to conclude if it’s that CARACH ANGREN perfectly succeeded into respecting its universe, which has a great part in the recognition of the band since its beginning, while trying new musical things which, even if truly notable in Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten, are really significant since every member qualities found a place in it. This album is greatly named since it is lively and heady, as a diabolical waltz which cannot be stopped; however, laughing at the dead is a privilege only for these immortal musicians who are Seregor, Namtar and Ardek!

Setlist :

1- Opening
2- Charlie
3- Blood Queen
4- Charles Francis Coghlan
5- Song For The Dead
6- In De Naam Van De Duivel
7- Pitch Black Box
8- The Possession Process
9- Three Times Thunder Strikes

Symphonic Metal Black Metal Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten Carach Angren Horror Metal Black Symphonic Metal

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