I’m not playing with words but
there’s really a palpable element of catharsis in this album. Carthagods were
formed about 20 years ago in the old Tunisian city of Carthage and only now is
the band releasing its debut full-length. The symbolic element of this release
is strong, therefore. But how do its musical qualities fare?
The first thing
that struck me is the album’s strong inclination towards U.S. Power Metal bands,
such as Cirith Ungol and Virgin Steele in addition to other bands such as Blind
Guardian and sometimes even Slayer. So, clearly, the album evokes some very epic
vibes, something Carthagods seem quite adept at.
Having been written and recorded over a relatively long space of time, I got the
feeling that “Carthagods” is organically inconsistent and its mixing isn’t
always effective (e.g. the rhythm guitars sometimes get placed too far back).
Other than all that, the songwriting is excellent, the melodies are powerful and
the music is generally intense.
It’s worth spending a few more words on the songwriting dynamics as this is one
of the album’s strongest points and to do this I’ll pick a couple of songs.
‘Eater Of Sin’ starts off very melodramatically but the song soon takes a more
aggressive, Thrash-leaning path. On the other hand, ‘A Last Sigh’ is a Doom
Metal number with catchy melodies and some Death Metal growls. The song features
Epica’s Mark Jansen as guest vocalist. Even when Carthagods are playing some
particularly aggressive Metal, there’s always an underlying sense of melancholy
in the music.
A surprise inclusion is a cover of Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘I Am A Viking’ –
Carthagods’ rendition isn’t particularly noteworthy but I can easily see
parallels between Jeff Scot Soto and Mehdi Khema, Carthagods’ singer. Khema has
a semi-raspy voice that seems to fit in very well with the band’s music.
The album ends
with an acoustic version of ‘Memories Of Neverending Pain’ to which Zuberoa
Aznarez (from Diabolus In Musica) lends her singing talents. Occasionally the
song meanders a bit but I liked the inclusion of hand percussions, amongst other
Despite this being a good album, I’ve an inkling that the best
is yet to come. I just hope we wouldn’t have to wait another 20
years for that.