Karcinoma - _The Night... Apogee of Madness_
(Stygian Crypt Productions, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (7.5 out of 10)
Karcinoma started as a death metal act in 1994, releasing their demo _The Melancholic Spasm_ in 1995. This album was recorded in 1997 and independently released on cassette in 1998. The vocalist was "suddenly imprisoned" at the turn of the century, and up until late 2001, only Yana (Fillipova, backing vocals) was on vocal duties. Since then, Karcinoma have migrated towards "gothic power", but have yet to release anything in this style. Basically, this album -- which is now being released on CD for the first time ten years later -- and their 1995 demo is the grand sum of their recording output over thirteen years. To think I once considered Metallica lazy!

Karcinoma pretty much sound like what you would expect from a third wave black metal band circa 1997/1998: an abundance of melody, strong but not excessive use of synths and keys, and a love of trebly production. However, there is still enough novelty -- especially a love of trebly and melancholic passages -- to allow them to stand out from others establishing themselves at the time.

There are five songs, totalling 35 minutes, but a "remix" of opener "The Night" sans the intro is appended as a bonus track. The reference to "remix" is a misnomer; I think "remastered" was the intended term, as the bonus track simply sounds more professional and better suited to their variation of black metal. Four other tracks fit the above motif, barring "La Musique". The acoustic nature and French lyrics sung entirely by Yana stand out like a white man at a Nation of Islam session. It's perfectly located to act as an interlude between the blackened blasting, but it's so much more than that and it is a definite highlight.

This album is not quite a classic, and its suitability for the re-release route is highly debatable, but it is sufficiently entertaining for me to regret their move to the horrendous sounding "gothic power".

Contact: http://stygiancrypt.cjb.net

(article published 3/10/2007)


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