Released: 2003, Season Of Mist
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
One of the better black metal bands out there is Carpathian Forest. Without forsaking a decent production, Carpathian Forest records black metal that can actually be understood and enjoyed without cringing. Another key point is that they don’t take themselves so bloody seriously as many of the bands do. In fact, they actually seem to have FUN! Their lyrics and album artwork are so over the top they can’t possible be serious…I HOPE?!?! On their latest CD, DEFENDING THE THRONE OF EVIL, the band has once again created a masterpiece of black metal. Combining traditional black metal themes with samples, keyboards and (GASP!!) a saxophone, the listener is treated to something somewhere that falls between Mayhem and Dimmu Borgir.
With the exception of one track (“One With The Earth”), Nattefrost has written all of the lyrics on this album. As is to be expected with this genre, there aren’t any sappy ballads or “happy” songs; the lyrics center around blasphemy, evil and other scary stuff. The CD booklet is filled with quotes like, “Carpathian Forest wants you dead!!!! This album is an instrument against Christianity, here’s the razor, bleed in peace,” and The Ten Commandments of Carpathian Forest (#9 is “You are nothing!!!!” and #10 is “You are absolutely nothing!!!!!”) The band is forthright in their message but still keep things tongue-in-cheek. The musicianship is surprisingly clear and audible for a black metal recording, which for me breaks up the monotony of the usual fare. “It’s Darker Than You Think” with its creepy intro and choirs and “Put To Sleep Like A Sick Animal!!!” with it’s speedy riffs and raw vocal are the real standout tracks on the album. There are a couple of tracks near the end of the CD that are, well, interesting. “The Old House On The Hill” features a circus-like keyboard track, while “Cold Murderous Music” sounds like Portishead with a saxophone played over top! One thing Carpathian Forest can never be accused of is not extending themselves.
DEFENDING THE THRONE OF EVIL is a breath of air in what has become a tired genre. True black metal seems to be stuck in the archetypes of 1984, but Carpathian Forest dares to build on those archetypes and make black metal interesting again.
KILLER KUTS: “It’s Darker Than You Think,” “Put To Sleep Like A Sick Animal!!!”