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Carach Angren: Franckensteina Strataemontanus

Carach Angren’s sixth album finds the band taking on the story of Johan Conrad Dippel, a man who experimented with alchemy and anatomy in ways that easily bring to mind Mary Shelley and her always-popular novel Frankenstein. Although scholars disagree on how much Dippel’s life really influenced the novel, there is no denying that Dippel and the novel are deeply connected in popular culture, especially on television and in novels.

With this album, the story of Johan Conrad Dippel will certainly get even more attention because it explores his ambitions and his experiments in frightening detail. In that respect, Dippel is the perfect subject for a band like Carach Angren. Not only does he have an immediate thematic connection to a classic novel (and movie!), but he also provides plenty of food for thought about topics ranging from human ambition to the limits of science. To listen to this album is to walk into Dippel’s mind in ways that will fascinate and frighten you. Although I’ve enjoyed Carach Angren’s music over the years, this is definitely my favorite album by them. I read once that many fans believe that Carach Angren just gets better and better. After listening to this album, I definitely agree.

Overall, the music here is strong and impressive in ways that play to the band’s strengths perfectly. Symphonic horror metal like this sometimes lays the symphonic elements on too thickly, as if they have to find room for the flutes and violins every time there’s a pause. But Carach Angren tries to find ways to incorporate the symphonic elements in ways that add to the music while also enhancing the story. In that sense, it would be reasonable to connect this album to a movie soundtrack. For those who want to get the most out of this album, I suggest listening to it from start to finish with headphones because there’s just so much to hear that you might not catch on a casual run through. This is definitely an album that rewards some extra attention.

If you really don’t want to put all that effort into it, check out “Monster” or “Der Vampir von Nürnberg” to see what you think. If you like those, go on to the title track and then “Operation Compass.” If you like what you hear, go back to the beginning and listen to the whole thing. There's much more good stuff to discover. While you listen, make sure you check out the killer cover art on this one. There’s something oddly suspicious going on in that lab!

This is Carach Angren at their best. I’d love to hear about the shows connected to this album. If any of you catch the band on the road (if conditions permit), I’d love to hear about it.

Track Listing:
1. Here in the German Woodland
2. Scourged Ghoul Undead
3. Franckensteina Strataemontanus
4. The Necromancer
5. Sewn for Solitude
6. Operation Compass
7. Monster
8. Der Vampir von Nürnberg
9. Skull with a Forked Tongue
10. Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam

Added: July 21st 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Score:
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 180
Language: english

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