Carach Angren, ‘Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten’ Exclusive Album Stream + Conceptual Track by Track Breakdown
The world of heavy metal has a long-established history with theatrical tendencies, either in visual presentation, in sound, or, in the case of the symphonic black metal trio Carach Angren, both. As one of the Netherlands’ finest exports, Carach Angren have been haunting listeners with nightmarish conceptual works for nearly a decade and Loudwire is proud to present the advance full stream of their latest album, Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten, along with a full track by track breakdown courtesy of mainman Clemens ‘Ardek’ Wijers.
For those who are unfamiliar with Carach Angren, there’s plenty of aesthetic parallels to be found between the trio and horror metal icon King Diamond. The storytelling is the most similar and here, the navigates listeners through the tale of a girl who becomes obsessed with playing with a Ouija board. She summons dark forces and what happens next unfolds throughout the royal, cinematic symphonic moments and black metal foundation.
Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten will be released on June 16 through Season of Mist and fans looking to snag a copy of their own can do so at the label’s webstore. To keep up with everything going on with Carach Angren, follow the band on Facebook.
Now, take a listen to the album at the top of the page and follow along with the storyline in this track by track breakdown directly below.
Carach Angren’s Ardek Offers Track by Track Breakdown of ‘Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten’
‘Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten’ is again a horror concept album like people are used to getting from us. Every song is part of a greater story but there are several “mini stories”. What happens is that a girl gets a Ouija board, starts playing with a Ouija board and stumbled upon an evil force. Then with it, also several other “Guests” (ghosts) visit and tell their stories, these are the songs following the first song. In the end we return to the girl and learn she is possessed and taken away by the demonic force. There is a huge climax revealed by the end that the listener only learns then.
This is a mysterious instrumental piece that will later make sense because of the title. Also, in the booklet there is a puzzle of words to be found when you take a close look at what is written there.
A girl is sitting in a room with a Ouija board. She thinks it is all fun to play with it. She starts to ask questions and gets answers, suddenly the answers don’t seem friendly anymore. There is something called “Charlie” answering; it starts cursing and getting really angry. She runs out of the room very scared. While the girl is out of the room, the listener, so to speak, remains in the room with the Ouija board that is not closed to the spirit world.
The Ouija board shows more “Traveller” ghosts that could not make it to the other side. So in this song we get introduced to “Blood Queen,” roughly based on the tale of Bloody Mary. This queen would spread intense violence against non-believers (beheading, burning, quartering). She wanted a child but was not fertile; the more desperate she became, the more violent too. In the climax she walks up a staircase — backwards — while looking in a mirror and saying, “Future, show me what’s mine.”
The mirror shows her a newborn child, but suddenly a ghost appears and the baby starts bleeding. She grabs the ghostly baby tight at the arm, but the ghost pulls her back and this force breaks the infant’s neck. So the ghost of the Queen roams forever, crying in desperation and haunts us, the listeners, through the mirrors in our own room.
We released a lyric video recently which was created by Costin Chioreanu. Costin did in an insane job and portrayed this song in the exact way as we wanted. We came to the conclusion that the dead speak through us via art…
“Charles Francis Coghlan”
The next ghost is the one of Charles Francis Coghlan. Charles was a remarkable actor — very famous. He moved to the United States. He died young, onstage during one of his theater plays. Simultaneously we hear the story of a terrible hurricane in America. It tells us that many graveyards were unburied and coffins led into the sea.
There is one coffin that keeps floating… the listener finds out this was the coffin of Charles, heading home. It was said that his coffin was found many years later at the other end of the ocean. The song portrays obsession. Charles was so passionate about what he did, he took it right into his coffin. And even the coffin kept moving the globe. The chorus says “Rising star, reaching far…in death.”
There is something here that we as a band recognize a lot. We always keep going, keep pushing harder to reach our goals and set new ones. We sacrifice a lot for that purpose. So we are obsessed with making Carach Angren the greatest band on Earth. This song is one of my favorites on the album. The moment Seregor told me about this story I saw vivid images in my mind, it also touched my heart, the sadness of this coffin in the middle of the ocean, floating. I started writing the music and finished it within days. Sometimes it happens like that. I hope the listener can feel the energy and emotion captured in this song.
“Song for the Dead”
The next character summoned from the Ouija board is a guy that can’t let go of the dead, literally. He wears their clothes, he keeps their bodies, dances with them. This is his song for the dead. His tribute. Composition wise, I wanted it to be like a dark ballad with a catchy chorus. The thing is that people are able to sing the chorus… But… if you sing the chorus you also have to sing the verses. And the verses reveal the tragic nature of the story.
In a way everyone can somehow relate to the fact that it is hard to let someone go, it’s only this particular ghoul takes it many steps further. He is his own king, in the land of the dead. The lyrics also address the listener directly to make the song even more intimate. E.g. “You think it’s wrong? I know I’m right!” I was very proud of the lyrics for this song and it turned out it contained the perfect album title: Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten. We invite people to learn about our newest album, come in and be amongst the rotten.
“In De Naam Van De Duivel”
This song is another ghost story penned down by Seregor. It represents the devil sending a witch out with a task. The task is to drive a happy couple apart. So what the witch does is she disguises [herself] as an old lady and goes to the house of the couple. She tells the woman that she had a dream of her husband cheating on her. She says she can undo this if the woman cuts off a lock of her husband’s hair during the night and return it to her.
But then the listener learns that the witch twisted her tongue, she told the husband before that his wife will come at him during the night with a knife to kill him. So then the guy lies awake during the night, sees a flicker of steel of the wife approaching with the knife. He is so angry that in that moment he takes the knife from her hand and slits her throat. The story has its roots in old Limburgian folklore and it works perfectly as one of the ghostly tales coming through the Ouija board.
“Pitch Black Box”
An important song introducing one of the central elements in the story, but the listener does not know yet. We describe a pitch black box. A haunted artifact that shouldn’t be opened. It has a sentence written above the lock, “Thou shalt not open.” Then we describe how you can put the skeletal key inside, turn six times left, three times right and open it. The song is very catchy with heavy impact. The song can also feel weird because up until now the listener has learned about new ghost stories visiting through the Ouija board all the time. This is done on purpose and we will see that the pitch black box is very important in our story.
“The Possession Process”
Back to the stories coming from the Ouija board. This song describes how someone is becoming possessed by noticing changes in the house and body slowly but steadily. What we did to make this song creepy is make it feel very close to home. Imagine you are at home but have this sense you are not alone. It is literally addressed in the lyrics “This is my home, but I am not alone…” The person loses control gradually until a demonic force has taken him over completely.
“Three Times Thunder Strikes”
Here we go back to the scene of song “Charlie.” We learn that the girl is being confronted still by the force called “Charlie.” The listener by now assumes Charlie came through the Ouija board as the other ghost stories we just heard. But in the very end we learn the girl opened a pitch black box one month earlier and that actually unleashed the demonic force called “Charlie”. So it was not the Ouija board. Charlie was already there.
Then in the very very end the listener is asked, “Did you open the box before finishing this song?” referring to the black digibox the cd came in. So this story actually makes the listener part of the album. This is also the reason why the first track is called “opening” meaning opening of the box, but also opening the album. So did you open the box before hearing this song? If you bought the digibox, the answer is yes. So you too were haunted before you even realized it.
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