Carpe Tenebrum - _Majestic Nothingness_
(Head Not Found, 1997)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Here's an album that'll probably be noticed mostly by Nagash's (Dimmu Borgir's bass player) participation, which, as it turns out, is rather unfair. Nagash only seems to have provided the vocals for Carpe Tenebrum (translated as "seize the darkness", as you probably know); besides that and the interesting lyrics and concept by Ariadne Donnelaith, this is almost a one-man project, since Astennu wrote and performed all the music (at least according to the credits). Having been recorded in Australia in late 1995 and only recently released through Head Not Found, an initial description might suggest similarities to Dimmu Borgir; after all, this essentially is relatively melodic black metal with keyboards. However, Dimmu Borgir don't use a drum machine, whereas in this album one is quite competently used (I risk being wrong here, but it does sound like one). Also, neither does _Majestic Nothingness_ have the kind of guitar work found in Dimmu Borgir, nor do the keyboards play the kind of role that they do in Nagash's band. Unfortunately, Carpe Tenebrum's usually good keyboard lines only show up once in a while, while the riffs that take up the rest of the time tend to be somewhat unremarkable (the fuzzy guitar sound doesn't help much), even though there are some rather interesting ones. A few tracks stand out in _Majestic Nothingness_ due to being different from the norm, namely "Drain the Labyrinth" for its grim chants and "Blood Dance" for its unusual melodies. Both of these tracks are very good, and "Temptress Luna" is perhaps even better. The rest of the album also has its good moments, but doesn't really stand out too much; considering the recent growth of the black metal scene, the delay of this album's release didn't help at all.
(article published 5/2/1997)
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