CARACH ANGREN Der Vampir von Nurnberg (studio report)

CARACH ANGREN is one of my favorite newer bands when it comes to last ten or even more years. I have been following their career since their early beginning with their absolute great debut Lammendam. They are just about to release their 6th full-length so it was a time to have a chat with Clemens once more to and give you some inside information about the upcoming record. So, we did one full studio report where we got though each and every title that one would find on upcoming record. 

First of all, let’s talk about the new record. Nobody have heard the new songs so, can you tell us something about it, lyrics, themes… The title of the first song is Here in German Woodland, the instrumental track, so let’s start from that one. Why did you choose that particular name?

It’s a concept album about the life of Johann Conrad Dippel, German theologian and an alchemist. He is basically the real Victor Frankenstein. There is a theory about how he inspired Mary Shelley to write the novel, so we did a research about him. I actually had a dream about him, which is how I came to this whole concept, but I can tell you more about that later. The album opens with an instrumental track, Here in German Woodland, with the narration about the kid playing in the woods, and after that he became ill and died.  We started with a short story to set the attention.

The second song is called Scourged Ghoul Undead. Can you tell us something about that one?

Yes. This song continues from the intro. Here we learned that the parents buried the child, but he comes back from the dead, and when he does, he attacks his family, kills them and eats them. It’s mostly described how the mother was eaten, the crows stick on the window, because it’s usually the mother who is doomed. The listener gets to hear more details about what happened in the woods when the kid became sick, killed and why he came back from the dead.

And when it comes to songs from the new record, like this one for example, could you compare the music to the older Carach Angren records?

Well it’s a very fast, complexed song, so we could compare it, for example, to Lingering In An Imprint Haunting. It has that kind of vibe, but with more creepy sounds like we did in Charlie. It’s a pretty long song, and one of the faster songs on the album.

The next song is Franckensteina Strataemontanus, and it’s only 3 minutes long…

Yes, it’s the title track, and it’s a very special song, very catchy, and it’s a new kind of direction for us with many industrial sounds, deep guitar and percussions. A little bit like the track we already released, but it also has deep clean vocals and death metal parts. This is basically introducing the listener to Johann Conrad Dippel, the alchemist, his work, his laboratory and his experiments.

And, comparing this album to the previous records, which one is the closest to him when it comes to music in general?

Uh, that’s hard to say. I think it builds on the last album, but it has something from every other one, plus the new things. The intro track is completely something new for example, but then the other songs are more like In the Name of the Devil or Sir John. Basically, if you’re a fan of the band, you will love this. And there is also the new stuff, like what we always do. We always keep what works, but we are also constantly trying to innovate.

So you have also added some industrial elements on the record?

Yes, also because it fits the concept when it comes to experiments. Johann Conrad Dippel was experimenting with the elixir of life to become immortal, so it fits with the obscure sounds. I was working a lot on the synthisizers this time. And that’s what we do for each album, we try to find the pallet of sounds. For example, on the Death Came Through a Phantom Ship, there are a lot violent sounds because it fits with the whole pirate concept. Every album is like the different pallet of sounds and colours.

The next record is called The Necromancer, sound pretty cool and aggressive, and I really expect a lot from this one. Could you tell us a little bit more?

Yeah, this one is also catchy but a little bit longer, and also has some melodic parts. It continues basically about his experiments, laboratory and animals. Very heavy songs, and it has some really groovy rhythms that we usually do, for example in Sir John or Departure Towards a Nautical Curse. But also, some new elements again.

Sewn for Solitude is the next one. Is that an instrumental or the full track?

It’s a full track. It’s about the perspective of a monster, once the monster was created. How it feels hiding from others and not being recognized. So, basically the song is about suffering as a creature, and you can relate to it in many ways. Everyone feels like that from time to time. It has Nikos Mavridis on the violin and a lot of strings in the song. There are also some clean vocals which I sang. It’s a very epic track. Very close to Lammendam, I would say, because of the strings and the arrangement, and very different from the previous one.

The sixth one, Operation Compass, has a very strange title. Can you reveal us what is the secret behind it?

Yeah, it’s still attached to the concept. Johann Conrad Dippel invented an oil, and it has it’s name, Dippel’s oil. It’s made out of animal bones and it’s used in World War II in North Africa. They had to put it in the wells in case of the retreat, so it’s basically a chemical warfare weapon. This actually happened for real. I found it in the war cabinet documents from the UK, and you will hear a part of this story in the song. Basically how the zombies are resurrected in the desert because of an oil. A completely different song again, very dissonant. More death metal sound, like Morbid Angel. Even more aggressive than Sir John.

Yes, the title even reminded me of Sir John. Also, the next song, Monster, people have already had the chance to hear it out. Why did you actually choose this song as the first single? Many people compared it as a ling between Dimmu Borgir and Belphegor. Coould you also comment this comparison?

Yes, it was also one of the catchier songs on the album and it felt like a good teaser or an appetizer for what’s more to come. Personally I like it very much because of the arrangement, the idea is simple, it’s super minimal but still so many layers. It’s basically an explanation for the word monster because it’s still related to the whole concept. I also love the contrast of it as it starts with a toy piano but then it’s followed by heavy drums in the background. I’ve seen all kinds of comparisons, some people like it, some people don’t, some are worried. That’s always the case, we release the track and people don’t know what to expect. The real fans know that this is a single and not every song on the album is like that.

Yes, definitely. Ok, the next one I definitely expect much from it. Der Vampir von Nürnberg.

Oh yes, this one will be released soon. It’s a teaser. It’s about a real guy that was a necrophile that would go to the graveyard, dig bodies, have sex with them, drink blood and everything else. It happened near Nurnberg, he is now released from jail. We connected it to the story because he was inspired by the works of Dippel. So that’s why this track is completely about him, but still connected to the main character. I think this track is like Corpse in a Nebulous Creek, that kind of vibe, but it also has a pipe organ, so it would make a kind of carnival sound like, this guy is completely crazy, he has a really strange lust. So the whole idea with the pipe organ is to add to the atmosphere like, he’s like a fox going through the night to get to the bodies. Seregor added some really good vocal parts in it. It’s a typical Carach Angren song.

So, it’s a true story?

Yeah, if you google it, Der Vampir von Nürnberg, it would probably show up. I think it was in the 80s or the 70s.

Yes, I do recall it now. I really look forward for this one. There is also a track named Skull with a Forked Tongue.

-Yeah, here it continues with the Dippel in his laboratory trying to get the elixir of life, trying to create an eternal life for himself in a form of liquid. What we learn here is that he is on his way to succeed. The track is very heavy. It’s kind of like When Crows Tick on Windows, there are blast beats and double bass. It’s a very typical fast and dark Carach Angren song. Very memorable chorus and melody that would probably stick with people.

The tenth song, which is actually the closing song. I can already guess that it’s an epic track, it’s eight minutes long, Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam.

This one has a long orchestral intro. I’m very happy with it because it turned out really great. We learn here that Dippel succeded but, there is always a but. His flash is still rotting away so, he’s still alive. His spirit is alive and he is confined to his rotting body. So he is floating in there and can not really do anything until he finds a fresh blood, which is where it connects to the first song. The boy was playing in this wood where he died so, the spirit got into little boy and he came back from the dead. So he kind of made a circle around and that’s how it also connects to the first song.

And, for the end, Frederick’s Experiments, it is not a bonus track but a closing song if I’m correct?

Frederick’s Experiments is a bonus track. It’s a full track. Very short track but it’s very catchy and typical Lammendam style track. It’s about Emperor Frederick II who also did experiments on humans. It’s kind of related to the Dippel story but not connected. That’s why we decided to make it an extra track on the special editions.

So, more or less, this is everything about the new record. The next single is Der Vampir von Nürnberg. Do you also plan to record a music video for the new record?

Yes, we actually have big plans, but currently it’s very difficult because the borders are closed. We would record in another country, but right now things are very uncertain. I hope we could do something for the release, but to be honest, I’m not really sure we can make it. If not, we will definitely do a video later this year.

  • Answers by Clemens Wijers
  • Interview by Marko Miranovic
  • Typed by Darko Panic
  • April 2020

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