Lineup:

Dennis “Seregor” Droomers – vocals, guitars
Clemens “Ardek” Wijers – keyboards, piano, orchestration, backing vocals
Ivo “Namtar” Wijers – drums, percussion

So I’m a little late on this, but tonight I finally made time to get really familiar with the story behind Carach Angren’s newest horror metal concept album, Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten.

I already loved the album. I loved it when I first heard it, I’ve loved it every time I’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it at least 90% of the days since its release in June. But now…whoa.

Loudwire got the story straight from Ardek, the keyboards/one of the composers for this incredible band. I will try to explain how imperative it is for metal fans to read this in-depth, track-by-track breakdown while listening to the album without spoiling any of the thrilling surprises within…

I learned so much about the album that, even after hearing it so many times, I had not yet come close to discovering. This story is rich and complex, with a little something for everyone; basic paranormal, demonic possession, urban legends, obsession with death, and haunted objects, to name a few. One particular track, “Charles Francis Coghlan” (which, by the way, if you didn’t know, has an INCREDIBLE music video; visit Carach Angren’s page, I believe it is pinned as of the time of this writing) caught me off-guard. The song is beautiful. It is grandiose and tells a fantastic yet morose story of an artist who took his passion with him to the grave. I’ve always felt the story was a little sad, but reading along with Ardek’s explanation for the song and the history behind it, I had an actual emotional response while listening to it, despite having heard it so many times before.

“Blood Queen” (which was featured at the top of Deezer’s Black Metal playlist shortly after the album released), “Pitch Black Box”, and “In de Naam van de Duivel” are driving, distortion-rich guitar-laden, speed-drumming metal anthems. Each of these songs has at least one line or riff that I can’t help but smile when I hear it. Knowing the backstory for these songs, however, sharply intensifies them for me. I know now where they fit in the overarching story for the album rather than just assuming the songs as incongruous elements.

This last part I don’t think I can be very specific about without spoiling anything, but I hope this will suffice. Ardek was talking a lot about directing the listener toward certain aspects of certain songs in this interview. I can say that a lot of care was taken not only in engaging the listener, but entertaining them as well. There are surprises within this album that you don’t want to miss!

Please take your time with music that resonates with you. Learn about the artists’ reasoning and story anchors and inspiration. You will get so much more from the music, and I like to think it helps the artists feel more heard and appreciated as well, when they know their fans take the time to read things like this and really consider the music, especially with concept albums. Metal has a reputation as a relatively richer genre in terms of storytelling, and if you love metal like I do, you can’t sell yourself short by not fully dissecting this album. If you haven’t bought it yet, buy the physical digibox version — after you read along with Ardek’s breakdown, you’ll be glad you did. You can get it by going to Carach Angren’s page and clicking the Shop Now button. If you haven’t heard any Carach Angren, these guys are only five albums in (they even have a set with all five available in the shop at a steal of a price) and they are ones to watch, so get in on the ground floor. Join Carach Angren for a walk through their latest haunting adventure, Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten.

–Elizabeth Autumn Laster