Friday, October 23, 2015

Carpathian Forest - Defending the Throne of Evil (2003)

Released in the autumn of 2003, Defending the Throne of Evil is the fourth full-length from Norway's most notorious underachievers, Carpathian Forest. There are a lot of things that can be said about this band, whose only true consistency lays in the inconsistency of their output. Despite emerging from the birthplace of Mayhem and Burzum, these guys have a lot more in common with Venom. For one, their recordings suffer a drop in quality from one to the next, yet they were always a very powerful and energetic live band. Therein rests one of the main problems for Carpathian Forest, as it really seems that they cared more for tossing together a collection of tunes and then hitting the stage with a few new additions, rather than putting forth a great amount of effort toward making memorable albums, in and of themselves. 

Defending the Throne of Evil marks the first release since the departure of Nordavind. This may account for the lack of attempts at atmospheric material. "The Well of All Human Tears" is a fairly decent mid-paced track, but does not come close to "Journey Through the Cold Moors of Svarttjern". The songwriting here is more straightforward, though the synth is still ever-present. This album sounds even more polished and modern than the previous records, a problem that worsened over the years. The truth is that the slick production matters little when the majority of the songs had minimal potential to begin with. The best track on here is "It's Darker Than You Think". This is both the most enjoyable and the most frustrating song on here. To address the latter, it's simply the fact that this track demonstrates what Carpathian Forest was capable of, when actually putting forth effort. Unfortunately, this is not something that they could often be bothered to do. At any rate, the tremolo melodies and vicious vocals of the chorus section show a band that is capable of doing something decent, but they utterly fail to capitalize on it. Nattefrost's voice deserved to be utilized for a much better project than this and is, in fact, one of the only good things about this L.P. The rest of the songs run the gamut from mediocre to the absurd, even going so far as to include saxophone bits to seem experimental and progressive. 

Defending the Throne of Evil is another example of horribly modern and generic 'extreme metal'. Here, Carpathian Forest just throws together Black, Death, Thrash and Doom riffs with no real direction. This is just generic nonsense with slick production no purpose or meaning, even more useless than Morbid Fascination of Death. Thankfully, this was one of the final abominations to come from this band. If you're looking for real Black Metal, avoid this.