Carach Angren, who plays symphonic black metal, hails from the Netherlands, and has unleashed an album of epic proportions. ‘Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten,’ is a swirling mix of musical masterpieces, and follows the story of a young girl who is haunted after releasing a spirit during a session with a Ouija board. The intro is an excellent build up for what is to come, and it would be perfectly at home in a horror movie. That being said, as I listened to this album I was able to envision the story in my mind. From the Ouija board session, to the death of Charles Francis Coghlan, to the witch who made a deal with the Devil, and so on. Each track adds another chapter, and, without giving it away, it is an excellent story. I especially liked that they give background to the Charlie character. They successfully use the cliché that encircles the fears people have about Ouija boards, and they add the ghostly aspects of real life hauntings; cuts on the skin, smells, feelings of being touched, etc.
Musically, Carach Angren is very diverse. Mixing clean vocals with heavy, brutal guitars blended with slower, symphonic sections. This is what I have always loved about symphonic black metal. It’s not all screaming, and hyper fast guitar parts (which, in my opinion, make most black metal unlistenable). I detect some Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, and Old Man’s Child influences. However, Carach Angren has a style all their own, and it does not disappoint. I find that there is an almost poetic style flow to some of the vocal work, and that adds an element that I find to be unique. “Pitch Black Box” really has that feel, as well a crushingly heavy groove, making it a stand-out song for me. Add that to some very impressive production work, and you have the makings of a metal masterpiece.
On it’s first week of the release, June 16th, 2017, ‘Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten’ landed Carach Angren on the U.S. Billboards chart; Hard Rock sales at #17, Heatseekers at #18, and Independent Albums at #48. Very impressive in such a short amount of time and well deserved. If you love symphonic black metal, then do not hesitate to pick up this album. You will not be disappointed. 10/10