CARACH ANGREN Haunting Echoes from the 17th Century

Definitely, CARACH ANGREN is the most promising band who has released a debut full-length in 2008. Both Grave (Metal Sound fellow scriber) and I are agreeing that these three musicians have a good chance to become a great group in the future. Lammendam, their 1st album, has so much to offer, from intensive changes of haunting melodies to indeed nice skills of playing. Ardek and Seregor have answered my questions…

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In April 2008, you have released your debut full-length for Maddening Media, a German label. Lammendam offers indeed intensive music with lots of variations and classical influences. Are you satisfied by final result and would you like to change something? 
(Ardek) Thanks for your comments on the album, really great. We are indeed very satisfied with the end result. It turned out even better then we ever imagined before we started this whole thing. We worked very hard during the time in the studio together with Philip Breuer (head of Maddening Media) and Patrick Damiani (head of Tidal Wave Studios). Those guys did a very great job regarding the recordings and everything before and after it. Also a bunch of other people made things incredible for us so in one way we were very lucky and on the other hand we worked very hard for ‘Lammendam’ to get out there. Looking back we wouldn’t change anything. We still like all the ins and outs of the whole process and of course the end result!

CARACH ANGREN is totally unknown name for our scene. Perhaps a few of us in Metal Sound crew are the first ones who had a chance to check you in Serbia. So, could you write a shorter biography/history of the band? It could be very useful for readers who are interested ¦
(Seregor) We are Carach Angren from the Southern parts of the Netherlands. When we left our previous band Vaultage, Carach Angren already existed as a side-project. So the time was right to call us a band. We like to define our music as ‘Haunting theatric Black metal’. We, Ardek“ Keyboards (Clemens Wijers) Namtar“ Drums (Ivo Wijers) and Seregor“ Vocals/guitars (Dennis Droomers) decided to play songs based on Limburgian ghost legends. We had some tracks with featuring different ghost stories. We picked the best songs and created a demo called The Chase vault tragedy. On that demo we already used one ghost-concept for the entire release. It handles about The Chase family-vault on the Island Barbados. A cursed vault. Every time this sealed tomb was opened, the previous added coffins of family members were found in chaos and disorder. Covered by a gigantic slab and sealed with mortar. The Governor himself marked the mortar with his personal seal. So no man could remove and remake it. They even threw white sand over the vaults floor… To make footsteps visible. Then¦a new family member died¦When the untouched grave was reopened; Again total disorder!……no footsteps nothing. So here the picture was clear. We liked these kinds of tales and agreed to continue with ghostly concepts. So in 2005 we produced Ethereal Veiled Existence About a famous ghost-photo taken in 1936. The story of The brown lady of Raynham Hall. Its about a great mansion were many people saw the ghost of a woman, who once was locked until her death in one of the rooms of Raynham Hall. Her husband suspected her of infidelity. She was imprisoned and never saw her children again. Her ghost kept searching… Several famous confrontations with the apparition have been written over four songs. It was a well received MCD. These days we have a contract with record-label Maddening Media So there it was possible to record a full-length CD in the tidalwave studios. A great team! Lammendamв has been released on April 18th. 10 tracks about a haunting in the southern part of the Netherlands. Of a young woman who once burned in her castle and kept haunting the woods until this day. This is what we do. Search for a fearsome haunting to built a big concept. And express that through black metal music.

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Lammendam is really good and inspirited album full of surprises and somehow written in an original way, although its very hard to be innovative these days. Nevertheless, how would you label CARACH ANGREN’s music? 
(Ardek) We tend to call our music ‘Haunting theatrical Black metal’ but overall we don’t like the idea of labeling music with genres because most of the time it doesn’t do any good to the representation of the music as a whole.

When I checked your debut effort, I found few influences in your music. Obviously, most of scribers would compare you to Cradle of Filth, Abyssos and the similar acts. But I have also noticed some influences from Tartaros and especially Anorexia Nervosa, mainly because of such intensity in your music, which was so specific for Anorexia Nervosa. Could you comment my opinion? 
(Ardek) Some of those bands are very great I think and it’s nice that you compare certain elements in our music with theirs. Although it’s difficult, we tend to create/ follow our own style within the (sub)genre. This is not something you create within a day or so, it’s something you have to develop in my opinion. We find it interesting to look back at music we created some years ago now, to reflect on our own (creative) process. It’s cool that you mention the intensity of Anorexia Nervosa. I really like it too.

Also, do you listen the bands that I have aforementioned? Especially Tartaros, I don’t know why, but your musical way and this atmosphere that makes one shivering is specific for both bands. 
Yes I like Tartaric. I think it’s a well known band amongst people who are much known with the black metal scene. Out of that they didn’t get enough credits in my opinion. If you would release some of their recordings these days, lots of people would like it. The ‘shivering-element’ is something we really look for while creating our music. Without a special eerie, adventurous or shivering feeling, our music would be less interesting we think.

What does CARACH ANGREN actually means? And could you explain the tiles of the record: Lammendam? 
(Seregor) It’s a name from J.R.R. Tolkien. I started my black metal thing like 10 years ago. There were already lots of blackmetal bands using names of this author. I noticed bands like Gorgoroth, Morgul, Cirith Gorgor and Summoning. It seemed a sort of bible to many bands. So I started reading the books and I liked it. A good description of good and evil. The dark names Tolkien gave to his land Mordor were all taken by bands at that time. Back then I found the Sindarian name Carach Angren in his book The Silmarillion. It was still unknown and I introduced it to my first band. But Inger Indolia turned out to be a better name for that band. All these years later Carach Angren came up again for our project. Every member agreed. Ok too many bands have already worked with Tolkien. But we do nothing with his stories in our lyrics. Except for the band name. So fuck opinions on this one and see it as an old fine tradition pointing to a fantastic definition of the dark. Carach Angren means Iron Jaws. It is a narrow pass in the northwest of Mordor were mountains come together looking like sharp teeth, made of iron. A good name that sounds strange and dark. It stands for strength. Iron jaws biting holes in your souls hehe. About the Lammendam… Its a legend I have known since I was a child. I live a few miles from Schinveld, a little Dutch village in the southern parts of the Netherlands. From there, you have to walk through some fields for 15 minutes before you enter the woods. Choose the right path and you walk right into the Lammendam. The only thing you will find is an old forgotten moat. Once upon as time, there stood a farmstead looking like a castle. The place once was called De Leiffarthof. Somewhere in the 17th century, there lived a young, gorgeous lady who gave her love to two lads. Both thought they were her only lover, but she could not choose. One day, one of the lads found out. There were threats and fights. On a certain night the castle burned like hell during a full moon. There was not enough water from the moat to extinguish the fires. The mistress found her death. Because of the French revolution, French farmers came to work on the fields. They and many other locals saw an apparition of a white ghost. Only at nights, when a full moon appeared. She used to wear long white dresses. That’s how she kept appearing, according to the legend. The farmers called the phenomena; La madame Blanch This ware transformed by the Dutch into ‘Lammendam’. A year after the women’s death, the two lads died in weird unexplainable accidents. The great thing about this legend is that it can get really personal. Only the elder Dutch farmers kept the story alive by telling on. It is, for example not as famous as story of The brown lady of Raynham Hall which we described on our previous release. ‘Lammendam’ is an almost buried story. The place keeps giving me the fucking creeps. It’s just a legend but every time when I’m there by myself, I somehow keep looking over my shoulder. Inspiring…

c760af6c413e4128bc6fb6ba7763e7c9I noticed that you are inspirited (and even fascinated) by those horror-like tales. You sing about those topics, but in much different way comparing to other similar groups. Even the music is much different. I’˜ve found that the album is so amusing. The question is: are you making jokes inside your lyrics or you are serious about them? 
(Ardek) Seregor likes to tell a story in a very natural, immanent way but he also likes to make things subjective here and there. That’s what you interpretive as a joke I guess:) It’s cool to use different points of view while singing/ writing about a theme. Overall one could say that we are serious about the story in the ways it fascinates us. On the other hand, we are artists so we like to experiment with the given material…

I read in your biography that you are fascinated by paranormal stories and activities, eye-witness happenings etc. Do you really believe in these happenings or you are just making a fun of human superstition? 
(Ardek) I think the three of us have a slightly different vision on this but overall we always come to the conclusion that we (can’t) don’t know things for certain and that’s the beauty of it! Mankind is cursedќto principle called understanding in my vision. When people can’t understand things anymore, they get scared or helpless. Lots of people think of mankind being the dominant species or something like that because we are capable of ‘understanding’ things. I tend to see it as a big advantage but also as a handicap. When it comes to ghosts or spirits or other things we can’t ‘understand’ we start acting weird. Some people flee in science, others turn into paranormal leaders, etc. I like to keep the question -open-:)

Before the 1st full-length you have recorded two releases: one demo and MCD, namely The Chase Vault Tragedy and Ethereal Veiled Existence. Two indeed interested stories are covered with those two recordings. Could you unveil us those themes? Also, how about the music, was it same comparing with a debut? 
(Ardek) In 2004 we created some songs in the same veign and decided to record a MCD. “The Chase Vault Tragedy” was born. This MCD tells the story of the moving coffins on Barbados. If you google a bit on the topic you can find out about the fascinating story. We really like this way of songwriting so we decided to continue our style. This ended up in the 2005 MCD “Ethereal Veiled Existence”. On this release we tell the famous story of the brown lady of Raynham hall. After the release of ‘Ethereal Veiled Existence’ we created the plan to record a full-lenght album telling another ghost story. The music evolved during the years. We are now on a point that we start to sort of feel our own musical style more and more.

You’re coming from Holland, if I am not so wrong. So, could you recommend us some bands that you have contact with? By the way, do you play in any other group or a musical project? 
(Ardek) Yes we’re from Holland so you got that right. Namtar also plays in a thrash metal band called ‘Anxiety’. People should definitely check this one out. It also features our live guitar player Trystys. Seregor and I don’t play in other bands at this moment. We are pretty occupied with Carach Angren and other things in our lives. I tend to compose music for other purposes too and want to develop this in the near future. You can check out my personal myspace pagehttp://www.myspace.com/ardekmusic Other great bands in the Netherlands are; Ordo Draconis (post-black metal), Xenomorph (brutal death metal), Gorefest (death metal), Hail of Bullets (death metal)

Maddening Media is pretty new name when it comes to record labels. I didn’t actually know anything about them before I have received a promotional package with your album and releases of few other bands. How did you get in contact with this record company and which bands do they prefer to sign?
(Ardek) Actually I got in contact with Philip from Maddening Media through Rahab of Ordo Draconis. Once I got in contact with Philip we started talking about the possibilities regarding a future cooperation. We emailed our asses off (haha) and things turned out great. Philip offered us a record deal, something we really wanted as a band. Philip is a great guy, his vision on music and art in general fits everything we try to seek with Carach Angren. Our shared vision is based on the fact that we want to influence the listener, to hit a certain emotional level (fear, feelings of uneasiness but also adventurous, more optimistic feelings). I know that Philip is always in search for music and art that does something extra, something special. We really like the cooperation with Maddening Media and I think Philip gathered a fantastic group of artist on his label!

I have just seen that you’re planning to support Marduk, Morbid Angel, Keep of Kalessin on their forthcoming tour so you are already aiming high. How often do you have a chance to play live and do you practice a lot in rehearsal room before the recording process? 
Yes, we’re really looking forward to this gig! We almost play every week these days. Since the release of ‘Lammendam’ we get lots of opportunities to play live and we love it! As of this fact we don’t really rehearse these days. Being on stage all the time keeps us in good shape:) We’re now focusing on new material for our next album.. Which will be one hell of an adventurous blast?

Whole album is really well-recorded, produced and played, you have even used a few original classic instruments. So, you must be talented musicians. Where did you record your debut? 
(Ardek) We recorded ‘Lammendam’ at Tidal Wave Studio in Karlsruhe (DE). We worked with Patrick Damiani on a very natural, free and solid basis, right from the beginning. Patrick has a very natural view on recording an album or music/ sound in general. This is something that fits to our view. There are lots of things going on in our music at the same time so it’s really a hard job to makes this come out in a good, natural way. Patrick pulled this off, we were overwhelmed by the end result! Besides all this we had a very great time in the studio, we worked very very hard but also partied untill we dropped hah. We used a couple of session musicians to play certain parts on our CD. Thanks to Nikos Mavridis, Yves Blaschette Hye Jung, Philip Breuer and of course Patrick Damiani, Lammendam sounds outstanding!

And the last question is in the spirit of your lyrical concept: would you like to live in a haunted house? 
(Ardek) Haha, yes I would like too but I would probably clear out the house within some time because all the howling can get pretty annoying haha. Thinking about the common size of haunted houses… yes I would love it!:)

Well, this is all for now. I really wish you all the best in your further activities and may the dark spirits haunt you forever, thy last words¦
Thanks a lot for your interest in our band! Keep up the good work over there!! Cheers!

  • Interview done by Marko Miranovic
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