Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Carcolh – Rising Sons of Saturn (2018) / 89%

The Baguette Doom Series pt. XVIII: Risen

Risen from the remnants of the promising but ultimately deceased Marble Chariot (read Baguettes V and XIV), Carloclh unleashed their debut full length back in March and they're now signed on the excellent Emanes Metal Records.

The French quintet from Bordeaux are able to go beyond the confines of traditional doom metal and find a sound of their own through the somber plains of the style. They don’t sound like anyone else and that’s already an important quality to have in 2018 doom when everyone are worshiping at the diminished altars of Electric Wizard or Sleep. Some French bands like Huata or Witchthroat Serpent are guilty of this misdemeanor. Not Carcolh. No sir.

Something important about Rising Sons of Saturn is that it never sounds derivative or forced to evolve in a certain niche. It’s authentic and it sounds authentic. From the natural and subtle production to the well written riffs (the most important component of doom), Carcolh has everything.

After an intriguing introduction with some piano intertwined with their riffs near the end, the real deal starts with the sorrowful but fat guitars of “Signs of the Afterlife” and we’re served more than forty minutes of top tier doom. Like any good doom bands, Carcolh knows that varying their tempos is the way to go. We have the fast gem in “Master of Midnight” and the slow dirge of the ten minutes epic “Into Eternity, I Will Rise Again” as dichotomous examples. They excel at all the speed they’re trying and they’re also able to keep the slower moments interesting.

In terms of likeness, they’re probably closer to Weird Light, France’s best hidden doom secret. Heavy riffs, dark atmosphere and grandiose clean vocals are their similarities. If Carcolh’s riffs were not as good as they are, the vocals of Sébastien Fanton would be the highlight. He’s even better here than he was with Marble Chariot. His strongest strength is his ability to be rough and moody while at the same time keeping things clean. Fanton’s approach is diverse but like the whole band, it’s focused and nothing is out of place. He gives us his best performance on the heartfelt “And the Sun Died”. On the other hand, the top notch solos of Olivier Blanc (now gone from the band) add another layer of musicality to Carcolh and I hope they’ll be as effective on their future releases. I’d take more bass in the mix next time though, it’s there, I can feel it but I’d like to shake a bit more.

From atmospheric and brooding to catchy and robust, the seven songs record explores many facets from trad doom that aren’t always combined under the same umbrella. They mix them with ease and panache and were able to release one of the top doom albums of the year alongside Acolytes of Moros, Dautha or Solemn Ceremony. What Carcolh offers us is trad doom that can play in the major league and for a rookie, it’s impressive. It’s obvious that those dudes aren’t novices. They clearly knew what sound they wanted and they did an impressive job with their debut full length. Support French doom. Supremely good baguette.

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