Recorded and mixed by Drop (Samael guitarist) at Downtone Studio in Switzerland. Mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studio in Sweden. Artwork by Headsplit Design. Released on 3 March 2023.
Afterworld (2023) is the sixth studio album from France’s progressive melodic death metal band Carcariass. Fun fact, the band is named after ‘carcharodon carcharias‘, the scientific name for a great white shark.
Reading the band’s biography on their website, Carcariass hail from Besançon in the east of France (between Dijon and the Swiss border). The band describes their music as
TechnicoMelodicProgressiveDeathThrashHeavyInstruMetal with influences of music AmericanoHelveticoSuedoNorvegeoDanoGermanoPolonoFrancoBritanicoItalianoCanado, but we will say that it is very melodic with many instrumental passages and goes from Death Metal (because of the serious vocals that we don’t understand) to Heavy Metal (for the instrumental parts), with a few short passages called “vacuum cleaner” (because we have girly T-shirts to sell). Anyway, all this allows Carcariass to be potentially appreciated by any metal fan.— Bio on Carcariass’ website
Their music is certainly hard to categorise. Within the first few tracks, from the throbbing, bubbly, electronic intro to “No aftermath” (track 1) which morphs into a very Rammstein-style stomp through the almost symphonic middle section of “Billions of suns” (track 2) to the delicately pure and melodic Satriani-style solo that opens “Identity” (track 3), this is an album that won’t sit still.
“Angel” (track 4) has both a Rammstein attitude and a Die Krupps-style melodic bounce, while instrumental “Fall of an empire” (track 5) builds on its beautiful intro to become a showcase in ascending and descending guitar scales.
The atmospheric keyboards that kick off “Black rain” (track 5) offer a brief smokescreen that hides a rumbling, galloping track resplendent with fast kick drums, furious picking and energetic solos.
The musical vista opens to a bright, rocky number with brief dark, death metal interludes in the lyrically heavy “Generational rot” (track 7). The intensity remains in the urgent and gruff “The hive” (track 8) before dropping again with the electronic opening to “Machine kult” (track 9) which soon drops its radio-friendly pretence to reveal itself as another brooding and twisted death-metal inspired track. But there is always the glimmer of something light and melodic bubbling beneath the surface.
The title track “Afterworld” (track 10) rounds off the album with a wide, atmospheric choral effect and a clean guitar with the reverb whacked up full. Galloping bass and drums provide a dramatic foundation for soaring guitar melodies. This six and a half-minute instrumental offers a gentle and melodic end to an otherwise surprisingly dark album.
This album took me a few listens to finally get into; I am glad that I was persistent, it was worth it in the end. While the band really does throw the kitchen sink at their style, there is an underlying similarity throughout to the attitude and approach of Rammstein and in places some later Die Krupps. At times I felt like I was listening to incidental music for a film, at others I felt unsettled by the constant twisting and turning of musical direction. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing in art: I want to be moved, I want to be challenged, I want my musical horizon to be expanded. And this album certainly does all of that.
Review score: 75%
Grand Sounds PR contacted me inviting me to review Carcariass’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either Grand Sounds PR or Carcariass. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Grand Sounds PR, and to Carcariass for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.