Music Reviews

Carpathian Forest

Strange Old Brew

Mercenary Musik / World War III

Strange Old Brew is an apt title. Take the glue The Ramones used to sniff, combined with the strong shit beer that Sodom guzzled, topped off with the black slime that is encrusted under the fingernails of Darkthrone – mix it up into a thick green ichor and you’ve got the mixture that gives Carpathian Forest their vitality and perverted pallor. And they are loathsome misery junkies, rejoicing in filth and slicing up their arms with rusty razors. Scars in pentagram formation, and a video library full of the sickest underground porno shit ever. The stuff the Internet even gets nervous over, and the Internet doesn’t even feel emotions. Weird.

Looking like dirty, violent drifter ex-cons who stole Mortis’ makeup stash and strapped on enough spikes and leather to outfit every San Francisco fetish club for a year, Carpathian Forest add a slightly more mad-eyed and drooling bent to the traditional black metal aesthetic. All this would be meaningless if they didn’t have the chops to back it up. Fuck yes, they do. In a just world, they would be the future of rock and roll.

Evil almost never sounded quite so fun with the ramshackle opening power chord blast of “Bloodcleansing.” Sure, they’ve got the doom, the darkness, and the skullfucking speed, but also a very sharp sense of what defines good fucking rock and roll. They take in the best bits from punk, thrash, black and death metal and mix it into a drunken mess, overlaid with vocals that are evil, possessed, and cartoon villainesque at the same time. Too fucking awesome! “Mask of the Slave” is a snuff fetish fantasy backed up with a cool thrashy riff that almost echoes Ministry’s “NWO,” a double bass assault at the end along with various pained sexnoise, and has the most infectious chorus of any song I’ve heard this year. The album ends on a fucking godhead note with the punk assault of “He’s Turning Blue,” a sicko gravemosh about a hapless soul who decides to hang himself after running out of lithium, and Carpathian Forest are fucking well cheering him on. I can say without hesitation that this song is better than any other punk band out there, bar none. Classic, and dig the subject matter. Suicide never sounded so attractive, uh oh.

They aren’t afraid to mess with machine music, though their machines have been violated and molested into instruments of sickness. “Damnation Chant” plays like Third Eye Foundation being set upon by Naked Lunch’s Steely Dan. “House of the Whipcord,” besides sharing a name with an old “women in prison” gorefest, uses keyboards, drum machines and even saxophones to highlight the tension and fear in whispered brutal S&M rites. It’s an amazing breakthrough. This wouldn’t be out of place of a horror movie soundtrack. Neither would “Theme From Nekromantik,” a more straight-up atmospheric cover of the splatter flick theme of the same name. More nice use of the piano. “The Good Old Enema Treatment” is a song to turn hardened porn junkies into weekly volunteers at the Church swap meet, layer eerie Hammer Horror white noise over the audio track to a Japanese enema fetish film – oriental tongues and disgusting intestinal gurgles and spurts. I finished it once. I won’t be able to do it again.

Carpathian Forest deal in the darkest nihilism and misanthropy, one that doesn’t rely on the readymade crutches of Satanism and demons and boogieman devils – their evil is derived from the darkest recesses of the human mind and groin and fist – this could be you. This should be you.

World War III:

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