Carpathian Forest - _Fuck You All!!!!_
(Season of Mist, 2006)
by: James Montague (6 out of 10)
It seems like stipping things down to basics is the latest trend in Norway -- Darkthrone put out the enjoyable rocker _The Cult Is Alive_, then Satyricon got it all wrong with _Now, Diabolical_. Third in line is Carpathian Forest, who specialised in this punkish approach to basic black metal back in the early '90s. Just like Darkthrone, these guys also have a song telling people to keep their thoughts to themselves, but theirs is called "Shut Up, There is No Excuse to Live". It's gotta be even better, right? Well, not really. _Fuck You All!!!!_ is a decent album with some choice cuts, and is an improvement on the painfully mediocre _Defending the Throne of Evil_, but is not really a patch on their earlier material. Sadly, a tagline all too common these days.

The album starts off in less than promising fashion, the opening riff of "Vi Apner Porten Til Helvete" being flat and monotonous, and the song dragging on for a seemingly interminable six-and-a-half minutes. Unfortunately this theme does crop up regularly on the album -- riffs that barely cut the mustard being drawn out well beyond their expiration date. Thankfully, by the third track, "Start Up the Incinerator", the band latches on to an excellent hypnotic riff reminiscent of Darkthrone's halcyon days, and the shrieks of pain from burning Christians gives the song a gimmicky but suitably grim atmosphere. Other songs like "The First Cut Is the Deepest" feature the groovy bass that made albums like _Black Shining Leather_ such a rocking good time. Another positive is that Nattefrost's vocals have never been better -- having given up guitar duty, he has found the time to refine his once-goofy black metal shrieks and improve his range. Once just something you had to put up with, vocals are now a feature of Carpathian Forest's music.

Although an objective dissection of _Fuck You All!!!!_ reveals many positives (indeed, my rating jumped by ten percent just in talking about them), I still find it a bit of a chore to listen to. The painful truth remains that Carpathian Forest aren't the best songwriters in the world, their inability to write long songs that hold the attention being testament to this opinion. The new album doesn't have any of the eclectic interludes or stylistic adventurism of releases like _Strange Old Brew_, so this weakness is laid bare. I fear that since J. Nordavind -- Nattefrost's original partner in crime -- has left the fold, Carpathian Forest will never recapture the feeling of their early material. Still, as shown by our dear friends from Satyricon, it could be much, much worse.


(article published 24/5/2006)

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