|Review: Carpe Tenebrum - Majestic Nothingness|
Label: Head Not Found
Year released: 1997
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Review online: March 10, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (4 Votes)
Carpe Tenebrum features only two members in its line up, both of which have made their mark in the Norwegian black metal scene. Nagash and Astennu both used to feature in both Dimmu Borgir, as well as the weirdo black turned goth band The Kovenant alongside Hellhammer. This album was the debut release for their lesser known melodic black metal outfit (which strangely enough, unexpectedly turned into a brutal death metal band come their third and final album), and was the best of their releases in my opinion.
At times bordering on the symphonic styles of Dimmu Borgir (albeit earlier Dimmu, without the real symphony orchestra extravagances!), 'Majestic Nothingness' certainly has a more severe, haunting edge than the majority of melodic black metal, reminding at best of 'Aspera Hiems Symfonia' era Arcturus (including the occasional clean vocals, and with an almost 'real' sounding drum machine kicking out speedy to mid-paced rhythms). There's a great deal of melody on offer which comes from the guitars rather than synth work, which makes a nice change. The guitar work is proficient, with good solos and clear cut riffage set fairly high in the mix allowing everything to be heard clearly without getting muddy. Nagash's 'black metal' vocals are fairly strong in the usual throaty hissing style, but do not really stand out as a highlight. Similarly, his clean vocals are so so, not managing to be a touch on Garm's near perfect pitch which it tries to emulate, but still, it works well enough not to grate on the ear. The synths add extra body to the riff-work, without being as in your face as say, Limbonic Art, so all in all, it works well.
So generally speaking, it's pretty much 'Enthrone Darkness Triumphant' era Dimmu Borgir worship. That said, it's a little less clichéd and more po-faced than Dimmu ever were. Carpe Tenebrum are worth a look, but at the same time, they're nothing groundbreaking.
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