Carach Angren’s third album, Where the Corpses Sink Forever (Season of Mist), is without a doubt one of the top ten albums this year. A lot happens in their music throughout the tracks. A lot. Ardek [Keyboards, Orchestration, Vocals] took time and explained everything, down to the details.
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I understand that you put much effort into your lyrics – why are lyrics important?
– As we started Carach Angren we immediately agreed that we wanted to tell stories through our music, stories about paranormal topics, ghosts and horror in general. We have been doing this from the beginning.
– Lyrics are of course an important aspect in getting the story told so we try to take full advantage of all possibilities it offers. For example we use a lot of quotes from different persons in the tales plus we like to use different languages: English, German, French, Dutch.
Your albums are conceptual. From where do you get inspiration? Movies? King Diamond?
– We don’t really take inspirations directly from other bands who create concept albums actually. We are however fans of horror stories and movies so we dive into that regularly. We like some Asian horror but also some of the mainstream movies, recent and old ones, which inspire us on and on.
– Besides that we like to sit down and fantasize about cruel stories. At some point we always do because we need new songs and new albums!
To what degree are you bound to this concept thinking – could you in the future see yourself making individual lyrics song per song that are not hold together in form of one story or one frame story?
– At this point I don’t think we will ever do that. The conceptual approach is not only a choice but has also become a way of working which we won’t let easily go.
And when you play live – is it the whole album from start to finish or songs from your whole career?
– Live we like to play songs from all albums to keep the energy up. However we try to make our shows very theatrical and use different kind of tracks throughout. We have intro’s, full songs, interludes to keep the pace up. A show is more then just playing a couple of songs in our opinion.
The overall combination of metal guitars and symphony is very good in your version – do you have any schooling in composing for a symphony, or are you self taught?
– Most of it is self taught, however I took some classes and followed some studies recent years to get more into orchestration. By doing this a lot we find ourselves getting better and better at it.
– Also, with every new album we are like “ok how are we going to do the next one….” especially because both the press and fans have been very positive about every release so far. It kind of builds up the pressure.
With all the symphonic possibilities – how often do you discuss full blast of the orchestra plus guitars vs. Minmalism, i.e. traditional metal setting guitar-bass-drums?
– Somehow this goes fluently. When we look at an album we like to have a couple of very big orchestral songs but not just that. We also want a couple of more direct songs like General Nightmare and Sir John. It’s all about keeping the pace through an album.
– When you read a book or watch a movie, you don’t want five big introductions, no, maybe one and then you want some action, followed by some thinking and so on. We try to do the same actually.
– But again, we don’t really discuss all of this, it sort of comes out fluently and gets shaped as we proceed writing more material.
Any good example of full blast?
– Well, you will find full orchestral parts in Bitte Tötet Mich when the soldier gets caught by a farmer. Also The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist is full of orchestral parts and a solo violin played by virtuoso Nikos Mavridis.
– And minimalism, listen to General Nightmare because this song has got a couple of very straightforward riffs without losing the epic surroundings of minimal orchestral layers. It’s personally one of my favourite songs together with Lingering in an Imprint Haunting.
In The Funeray… I hear sort of music within the music. I’m refering to your singing about the violin and then you hear a violin.
– Yes you are right! In this song emotion and instruments come together perfectly. The song handles about a violinist who has to fight but it’s not at all his nature. His inner fight is transcended into an outer fight and we tell this throughout the song.
Please give us more details that we can discover!
– In Sir John, a wordplay with surgeon, you hear low brass parts with a more death metal orientated riff as it handles about blood and gore. In the outro of the album, the intro comes back but now as a tape so the main person and even the listener discovers he’s trapped as well and will relive all the horrors he has just been through forever more.
Is production a minefield for argumentation and disapprovement, or are you always thinking alike?
– We’ve been working with Patrick Damiani from Tidal Wave Studio since our first full lenght album Lammendam and this cooperation has always been outstanding.
– Patrick is a very dedicated professional producer who knows exactly what he wants. Of course we talk a lot about what we want in a production but through the years we have grown like a team together and now exactly how to approach another album.
How do you typically compose a song? In one sweep?
– Usually I start composing orchestral parts with basic rhythms before sending it over to Seregor. He then gets the guitar riffing and melodies going and eventually we find a good mix. Then Namtar comes in and defines the rhythms in a highly original way. Usually the lyrics are written simultaneously and we already know what a song will be about when we start.
Leaving the music behind – how did you decide about your name?
– Well Seregor used to play in another band called Inger Indolia. Some years after he quit this we came together in a new band called Vaultage but decided we wanted to continue in a new band.
– That’s when Seregor told us like “I’ve got a couple of names lying around, for example Carach Angren.” We instantly liked the way it sounded so that was the main reason to choose it – ha!
– Later I learned it’s also a ghostly gateway to Mordor in the stories to Tolkien which also fits.