This Is No Fairytale
(Season Of Mist)
Symphonic black metallers Carach Angren are back with a brand new album that’s slightly different at least compared to the band’s previous approaches, which have dealt with ghost stories. While yes, some of you might not like the idea that these Netherlanders have completely given up the ghost for the Grimm, I can certainly say that this twisted fairytale is just as pungent as anything else that they offered before. Even despite the change in lyrical content, it sounds pound for pound the way that a Carach Angren record should with its multiple layers of thick symphonics and riffs, as well as captivating melodies both in the guitar-laden and orchestral sections. It is obvious that the band wanted to make something stereoscopic if you will; a sort of theatrical production that gives class to black metal, while still keeping it as cold and frost-barren as we remember. This Is No Fairytale, just like all of the band’s previous albums, is the kind of record where the story is actually important and I’d recommend that you have the booklet in front of you while you listen to each song and read along with the band (as I often used to do, no doubt) as they help to musically illustrate such a positively chilling and true to form take on the obvious dark origin behind the story of Hansel and Gretel. Just take a moment for that to sink in, as you sit and scratch your head for a bit.
I’m sure that you’re already wondering why of all tales they chose Hansel and Gretel, but if you’ve ever read the original versions of these tales, then you would already realize that it makes perfect sense. I will admit that hearing frontman Seregor scowl the words “pancakes” and “chocolate” in “Possessed By A Craft Of Witchery” is certainly something profound for the genre as I’ve never heard such words uttered in this style and it may very well even be a first for black metal in general. (You may do your research on this subject if you’d like.) It makes me think humorously of a black metal confections shop, in which one might order the “pound of perilous pancakes” or the “chaotic chocolate éclair.” But all joking aside, this is most definitely a perplexingly detailed record with so many structural changes that it almost seems impossible to have been performed by human hands. If one wanted to dissect This Is No Fairytale riff by riff, you’d probably find enough material here for several ordinary melodic black metal albums, even though death metal realms also rear their ugly head in the mix along with a few throaty growls. Keep in mind that before genre classification, several styles were seamlessly utilized into the music that we love and no one batted an eye to the genre switch-ups. But even so, this is still a black metal album at heart and it fires off just like one. I might even say that Charles Band’s Puppet Master theme seems at least referenced a little on the album’s closing track “Tragedy Ever After” and it certainly seems to benefit the closing statement of the record and it’s truly poisonous ending. While not ultimately long, it certainly showcases more skill and diversity than we’ve ever heard from the band before and further asserts my position that Carach Angren will be the next DImmu Borgir. I’m just wondering how many more albums they will have to release before people finally catch on and realize that the new kings of symphonic black metal are indeed already here and may their reign be ever long. (Eric May)