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Hailing from the Netherlands, Carach Angren started out in 2003. It is a symphonic black metal band that composes each of their albums based on a storytelling concept, the concepts and stories are mostly horror-inspired. Their fifth studio album “Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten” was released this month and we talked to Clemens “Ardek” Wijers, the man behind keyboards and orchestration, to tell us everything about it.

M.I. - First of all, where did the idea for the record name and the whole concept of the album come from?

After having released “This Is No Fairytale” which was a very dark and complex “terror” album we felt the need to go in a different direction once again without losing the core of our music and storytelling. When it comes to the composition process I felt a newborn hunger for melodies and epic, more catchy parts. So that’s what we did. The idea for the story came along immediately with it. I wanted to include the listener into the story this time and I think we have succeeded doing that based on the response we have gotten so far.


M.I. - In my opinion, you successfully recreate the sound of classic symphonic black metal with all the same quality. “Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten” harkens back to a time when “Midian” and “Death Cult Armageddon” reigned. Do you inspire yourselves in any band of the black metal scene? 

To be honest we feel we have taken our sound in a much different direction as we are horror storytellers. Our music incorporates black metal, death metal, and even industrial metal elements, all enhancing the storytelling core. So we tend to call ourselves “Horror Metal” as we feel it fits more to the overall presentation of Carach Angren both on albums and during live shows. Our purpose is to become the greatest horror metal act on earth, inspiring and entertaining people through relentless storytelling musical hurricanes. 


M.I. - Have you challenged yourselves creating this album? Do you think it took more work, more preparation than the others?

Yes, because first of all… on every album we grow as artists. We have become better again at what we have set out to do. We always are on the lookout for new things that inspire us to come up with a new story. Second, we made sure that everything works together for this release. The music and lyrics of course, but also the packaging and new video play an important part in the overall story and perception to you as a fan. It was a lot of work, but that is what we are here for. Work hard and be passionate about achieving the above mentioned goal.


M.I. - How was the experience of recording a new album? Is it the same old feeling, or with each new album you just get more excited?

It’s always exciting to record new songs because it shows the most fresh ideas and that is how it should be. Because of the overall idea to include the listener into the story I was personally really excited in getting everything lined up, yes. Also, when you do something for many years, each time you become better at it, so now it’s really pure passion to go out and play a lot of concerts, think about new music and lyrics, come back and record everything with a great team surrounding us.


M.I. - A lot of black metal tend to focus on topics such as Satan. What made you decide to focus on horror instead? And what inspired you to create such conceptual albums?

We have been doing this from our very first release (The Chase Vault Tragedy). I always have felt like a film composer, when I compose, I always have an image in my head or a strong emotion I would like to capture within the music. So it naturally made sense to do this and we have become better at it throughout the years. Seregor is like a world class actor, acting out all the crazy narratives we put in our albums so you could see Carach Angren as an endless movie. What other bands do is their cause, we feel we have created our own path and keep walking it.


M.I. - Not only do you have a very beautiful symphonic but a lyrical concept as well, with the storytelling and poetry involved in your lyrics. You almost feel like you’re in a very dark and horrifying play. Talk about where those strong influences come from.

We are influenced by a lot of things all the time. Movies, books, stories being told to us and our sick imagination. We combine elements from existing stories with things we come up with ourselves. On this album I felt like some real characters in there spoke to me (Charles Francis Coghlan). It’s like the dead want to be heard and it’s an intriguing realisation to me that through our music -indeed- more people will learn about their lives and stories. 


M.I. - Are the lyrical concepts of this record a continuation of the previous ones?

No, this is a totally new story. Let me explain it to you. During the first full track “Charlie” we introduce you to a girl that is playing with a ouija board. The idea is that people tend to try things that they perceive as dangerous. Something dangerous has both a scary and attractive side to it, people take risks and so does this girl. She encounters a force called “Charlie” and runs away because the spirit doesn’t seem happy. The idea is that as she runs away, we -the listener- stays with the ouijaboard and then encounters other ghosts telling their stories. So all the following songs are encounters we have through the ouijaboard. There is one strange song, called “Pitch Black Box” which doesn’t make sense in this narative and we will learn later why. In the last song we learn what actually happened to the girl. This demon “Charlie” kills her and takes her down. it is revealed in the very end of the song that Charlie was already there, it didn’t come through the board but from a pitch black box that the girl had found one month earlier. Then the listener is addressed “Did you open the box before hearing this song?” which then reveals that the listener is fucked as well because the album comes in a black box. You will find yourself in a catch 22 situation. I have always wanted to do this and hopefully people will like it.


M.I. - In terms of touring, would there be a time later this year, or sometime next year, that the band will be able to perform a headlining show in Portugal? Are there any talks or discussions within the band, would the band be ready to do so?

We will play as much as we can but it all depends on offers coming in right now. There is a lot going on in the background because we want to present our new album worldwide. If you are a fan of ours, push your local promoters and it will only increase the possibility of us coming there. Hope to see you soon and haunt you forever!

Interview by Catarina Gomes