Album length: 9 tracks / 40 minutes
Label: EVP recordings
I will start this review by saying that this album has wreaked havoc upon my AOTY list. It has unashamedly elbowed its way into my top 5 and it will not be moving from that spot.
If you like any of the following, then you will enjoy this album: power metal guitar solos, black metal, melodic death metal, OSDM, jazz and thrash. That’s right – somehow these Australian musical geniuses have managed to expertly take inspiration from all the afore mentioned styles, to create a seamless and monumental extreme metal album.
The opening track Zenith shows no mercy and opens straight away with the fatally excellent combination of riffs and blast beats. Lead singer Jade shows off her incredible vocal talent, with some black metal screeching and the track continues to evolve. Featuring a melodic section, a gorgeous guitar solo and ending with a heavy death metal section, where Jade also displays her deep, growls. A truly fantastic start to an album.
Carpathia features 2 short instrumental tracks, which provide small, relaxing pit-stops amongst the stunning chaos that is the rest of the album. The first ‘palate cleanser’ instrumental track Niflheim (track 3) is dreamy yet emotionally intense. The second Awakening (track 6) creates a feeling of despair, with celestial sound FX mixed with something reminiscent of the 28 Days Later theme tune or the intro to the song Oh, What The Future Holds… by Fit For An Autopsy.
The title track Carpathia (track 2), Immortal (track 7) and Primordius (track 4) all have a very satisfying headbang tempo. They feature drum fills, guitar and bass solos, a mixture of vocal styles and choral accents, which give the songs a ‘grand’ feeling.
My favourite tracks are Nebula (track 5 – see the YouTube link below) and Entities (track 8) and I can only describe them as eclectic masterpieces. Nebula opens with a thrashy section and a guitar solo, slowing down into a heavier death metal section, featuring some powerfully emotional vocals (which remind me of Kim Stjernkopf from MØL). This is then followed by a full-on black metal section, with blast beats, tremolo picking and a soft, fading guitar solo to end on. Entities offers more of a traditional death metal style, with deep growls and dirty guitar distortion. The track suddenly transforms into a more melodic style, with the intricate use of cymbals, a switch up in the time signature and jazz inspired drum and bass lines. Ending with a punch of death metal once again, this song blew my mind.
The closing track Gatekeeper (track 9) immediately hits you with a powerful black metal intro. The track switches between black and death metal styles, progressing into a slower melodic section with both a classic guitar and wailing electric guitar. The bass is the stand out on this track, as we are treated to an Allegaeon-style bass solo, some more MØL-style vocals and rounding the album off with a melo-death outro, which could easily have been written by Gojira.
Carpthia is an exciting, emotional and brutal extreme metal album, with something for everyone.