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Carpathian Forest- Strange Old Brew

Band Homeland: Norway

Band Homepage: http://home.c2i.net/famhegg/CarpForest/CarpFrame1.html

Label Homepage: http://www.avantgardemusic.com/

Released in 2000 on Avantgarde Music, “Strange Old Brew” is strange indeed. I have always had a love/hate relationship with this band since I was first introduced to them. They employ some of the most grim visages and utilize everything that one would expect to see from a Black Metal band (corpsepaint, spiked leather gauntlets, black leather everything) but I’ve always wondered about the lyrical content and titles of some of their songs. It is as if they are not even taking themselves seriously, and I find that unbecoming. But, I digress.

Consisting of 12 songs with a total playing time of just over 40 minutes, it is a bizarre experience. With an eclectic range of sounds that vary from pre-90’s Black Thrash to Dark Ambient / Doom, to even Hardcore Punk Rock, each song is a musical adventure in itself. Some of the music is a bit too experimental for me (I absolutely hate saxophones) and quite honestly, “The Good Old Enema Treatment” is probably the most juvenile and unnecessary thing I have ever heard on a Black Metal album. I would expect this to be something one would find on something from Relapse Records. Ugh.

But I don’t like writing negative reviews, and I do like this band. So I’ll finish this my review by focusing on the strengths of this album. Songs like “Bloodcleansing”, “Mask Of The Slave” and “Martur-Saccificulum” are driving and blasting Black Thrash and absolutely kill! There is enough power in those 3 songs to run my truck for a month. “Return Of The Freezing Winds” is just pure and unrelenting Black Metal. “The Suicide Song” could well be a tribute to the old styling of Celtic Frost. This album has many worthy moments, and the next time I play this, you can bet it is there that I’ll be focusing my attention.

Intro - Damnation Chant
Mask of the Slave
Martur / Sacrificulum
The Suicide Song
House of the Whipchord
Cloak of Midnight
Return of the Freezing Winds
Theme from Nekromantikk
The Good Old Enema Treatment
He's Turning Blue (bonus track)