Saturday, March 15, 2014

Carpathian Forest - Bloodlust and Perversion (1992)

Carpathian Forest is an odd band. Their first three releases are their best, which wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that they are made up of two demos and an E.P. All in all, less than ten real songs make up the band's prime. By the time they managed to record full-length albums, the quality of the songwriting had become very inconsistent and they never were able to put together a single album that could be considered entirely solid.

Their first demo, Bloodlust and Perversion, was released in 1992. Emerging the same year as A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Live in Leipzig, Burzum, Wrath of the Tyrant and Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, this tape was nothing all that special, or significant, by comparison. Carpathian Forest could have met the same fate as a band like Incarnator, releasing a demo and then fading into obscurity. Yet, somehow, they were able to survive the fallout of 1993-94 and retain their primary influences for a while.

What one can hear on this demo is rather thickly produced Black Metal that owes a great deal to early Celtic Frost. Looking past the intro and outro, this tape only has three real songs, yet they are among the strongest that the band ever put together. The sound is very heavy, with very little treble and a massive wall of sound that makes Morbid Tales sound like a lightweight. The songs are mostly mid-paced, with subtle guitar work that adds a creepy effect, somewhat foreshadowing the following demo. The songwriting is not absolutely consistent, as the title track ends with a strange Death Metal section. Still, it is not totally out of place. When listening to "Return of the Freezing Winds", one cannot help but think of this as the bastard child of "Procreation (of the Wicked)". The riffs are fairly simple and memorable, while creating a feeling of darkness and doom. This is aided by the great vocal performance of Nattefrost. His voice is very raspy and sinister and adds an evil aura to the recording.

Though Bloodlust and Perversion lacks a track like "Carpathian Forest" or "Journey through the Cold Moors of Svarttjern", it still ranks as one of their best recordings and is something that all fans of the band need to hear. Carpathian Forest possessed a lot of potential that went to waste, but their first outing was rather successful and should appeal to those who like the old school Black Metal of the '80s as well as the Second Wave bands.