June 23, 2020 Carach Angren – Franckensteina Strataemontanus (Album Review)
From film to music, as a genre, Horror can be surprisingly therapeutic. This is particularly the case with bands such as soundtrack makers Goblin, and in the Heavy Metal world, a hand full of others such as Cradle of Filth, but also The Netherlands’ Carach Angren. Horror-themed Symphonic Black Metal masters, the aforementioned Carach Angren are now set to unleash Franckensteina Strataemontanus on Friday, June 26th, 2020 via Season of Mist.
An album title difficult to say, let alone spell correctly, Franckensteina Strataemontanus’ concept revolves around the story behind troubled soul ‘Conrad Dippel’; the main character inspiration of Mary Shelley’s 18th century novel Frankenstein. Complete with eleven tracks, including the bonus “Frederick’s Experiments,” like previous works, this album is full of everything Carach Angren adore.
Now, while Symphonic Black Metal may not be for everyone, there is still certainly something a broader audience can appreciate, especially when it’s building tension, as is the case with Carach Angren. Additionally, the band’s ability to sing in multiple languages such as French, German, Dutch, and English, bodes well for their diverse appeal. This is while the mixture of genres of music in such a unique ways plays to the band’s advantage. Also, Carach Angren seems to excel at creating a very undeniable powerful experience that commands your attention.
A follow-up to 2017’s Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten, returning this time around are Vocalist/Guitarist Dennis “Seregor” Droomers, Clemens “Ardek” Wijers on keyboards, piano, orchestration, and backing vocals, along with Ivo “Namtar” Wijers on drums who sadly left the trio following the albums completion. These factors in place, Franckensteina Strataemontanus begins with an opening storyline narration in the form of “Here In German Woodland.” Following is another narrated playground of horrific symphony that dives into a very unique Black Metal styled “Scourged Ghoul Undead.” Then enters the aggressively driven title-track fueling the waters for what is yet to come.
Moving on to one of the most exciting tunes, “Sewn For Solitude” features violin work that transports you into another time that can only be appreciated through an innermost head trip. At just over three and a half minutes, it is the perfect length to create the perfect journey through one’s soul. Then the album moves on into “Operation Compass,” a track which makes it apparent that the next drummer will have some very giant shoes to fill in Namtar place.
Fixating at the climax of it all, “Monster” chimes in full of special effects that bring the horror to the chopping block. As is usually the case with Carach Angren, “Monster” would fit beautifully within any suspenseful scene in a Horror film. Then, treading on bloody waters, “Der Vampir Von Nürnberg” spills its guts in an entertaining way for six symphonically charged minutes of pain and ideal suffering. This is while “Skull with a Forked Tongue” channels the mysterious process of the olden days of Horror and dices them up with a very modern and blackened twist. Finishing off a hearty dose of turmoil and solitude, “Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam” spans over eight minutes. Starting off where it all originally began, it continues to soar off into an epic theatrical tonality that grandly tells a story of determination.
Overall, Franckensteina Strataemontanus offers a very strong grip on incorporating Horror tales into their musical exploration. Carach Angren seem to gets stronger over the years, and while the current lack of touring in the current world seems devastating, it is hopeful that a live presentation of this album will have a future occurrence. A well-rounded compelling story of Horror inspired Symphonic Black Metal, Cryptic Rock gives Franckensteina Strataemontanus 4.5 out of 5 stars.