Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten is CARACH ANGREN‘s latest aural offering. Straying away from the thematic issues dealt with in their previous two albums, This Is No Fairytale and Where The Corpses Sink Forever, their latest album returns to the purity of macabre storytelling. Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten branches into new, unexplored territory for the Dutch masters of horror.
Opening the metaphorical box of CARACH ANGREN‘s latest album, the introduction to Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten is a short, ominous piece of music which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Combining a beautiful piano piece with muted orchestration, Opening creates an aura of mystery and malice which leads straight into Charlie, the truly malignant introduction to the story which CARACH ANGREN have woven like a malignant web throughout this album. Combining the haunting vocals and ominous chanting of Seregor with the masterful orchestral compositions of Ardek and the aggressive percussion of Namtar, Charlie introduces the origin of Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten’s sinister tale. Utilising both elements of ominous melancholy and the ghoulish macabre in both lyrics and instrumental pieces, Charlie is the cold weight in your chest and the heart in your throat that paves the way and sets the character for the rest of the album.
The track Blood Queen, which features a terrifying music video from the talented Costin Chioreanu is a perfect example of what makes CARACH ANGREN such an interesting listen – the dark, visceral lyrics from Seregor paints a stark juxtaposition against the flamboyance of the orchestra, before plunging us down into the depths with dirty, black metal riffs. The tale of the ill-fated corpse of Charles Francis Coghlan is a return to the elements of pure storytelling which Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten hoped to achieve. This track manages to convey the excitement and jubilance of a young actor in his prime, before an overwhelmingly sad, sombre atmosphere replaces it, describing the success of the actor Charles Francis Coghlan until his untimely death and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his body’s fate. A slightly slower pace after the halfway point of the song brings these two moods together beautifully, with Seregor‘smasterful use spoken word and perfect delivery making this track one of the standout points of the album.
Song For The Dead follows this, ushering in a slower, more orchestral piece which stands as a dividing line between the slower, more melancholy first half of the album and the up-tempo, hostile second half. The next song, In De Naam Van De Duivel is a harsh, tragic tale in which black metal and classical orchestration are fused flawlessly to paint a disastrous, genuinely sad story. This is followed by Pitch Black Box which somewhat stands out as an anomaly, not describing any particular story as is customary of CARACH ANGREN‘s music, but rather acting as an integral part to understanding the album as a whole. Seregor’s aggressive vocals here are manifest, creating an ominous and foreboding atmosphere, before The Possession Process enters in a blaze of fury, continuing the story which has been so carefully crafted throughout Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten.
The final track of the album, Three Times Thunder Strikes plays much more upon the black metal aspect of CARACH ANGREN‘s sound than the previous songs on this album, concluding the sorrowful story in a blaze of furious riffs and breakneck percussion. Bringing the album to a close, Three Times Thunder Strikes is a crescendo of anger and dissonance which works well to illustrate the lyrical themes of the song, concluding in a foreboding realisation.
As an entire piece, there is no doubt that this album is a hearken to the Golden Age of CARACH ANGREN. Their aim was to return to pure storytelling, and they achieved this magnificently. An engaging, startling and thought-provoking narrative runs throughout this piece, interspersed with individual stories which merit attention on their own accord. CARACH ANGREN proves time and time again throughout the course of this album that they have mastered the art of creating haunting music without the need to digress into unintelligibility. Seregor’s lyricism weaves misery, anger and horror throughout this album like a web, whilst Ardek’s orchestrations provide a dramatic backdrop which is compounded by the battery of Namtar. Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten is an album which demands attention and is a must-listen for any fans of dark storytelling and horror.
Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten is out now via Season of Mist.
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