20 April 2008

Album of the Week: Carpathian Forest - We're Going to Hell for this (2002)

This week's album is one which holds a special place in my heart, since it was the first Black Metal album I ever owned. More of a compilation than a proper studio album, We're Going to Hell for this was released by Norwegian outfit Carpathian Forest in 2002. It is comprised of five original studio tracks, three cover versions (including songs by Darkthrone and Venom), nine live tracks and a single demo track dating from 1996.

There are a few things about their approach to Black Metal that set Carpathian Forest apart from so many of their colleagues. First among these is the nature of their music--it is unabashed and remorseless Black Metal, but with elements of Hardcore Punk and traditional Thrash Metal which make the music of Carpathian Forest much more accessible than, say, Abruptum. Second, the production values are much better, though not excessively so (the bass guitar, contrary to genre conventions, is not only actually audible, but also fairly prominent in the mix). Finally, Carpathian Forest approaches the Black Metal aesthetic with a sense of humor--dark humor, to be sure, but humor nonetheless. It's a nice change of pace from the hyper-austerity upon which the countless Burzum wannabes and Marduk knock-offs insist so vehemently.

We're Going to Hell for This is equally valuable both to long-time fans of Carpathian Forest as well as to first-time listeners, to the former because of the quality of the live tracks and the rarity of the studio tracks, and to the latter because it serves as a good introduction to the sick and twisted (but strangely enjoyable) world of Carpathian Forest.

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