The ever-looming darkness of horror is always a good source of inspiration for the genre of Metal. Bubbling away like a mad scientist’s experiment, comes a new source of terror in the form of Italy’s KARPENTER.
Sleepless is the album opener. Imagine the musical compositions of the fabled and legendary John Carpenter mixed in with the Stranger Things theme fused with distorted guitars. This gives you a real taste of what is on offer throughout.
Mechanical Sense is a song based around demonic possession and one of the singles from the album and you can instantly see why! Guaranteed to possess you from the first listen. The accompanying music video for this track is a lot of fun and well worth a watch!
Perfection Valley is centred around the fictional town from the film Tremors, and it goes to show the band really know their stuff! This was one of the first B-Movies I watched so this track instantly takes me on a nostalgia trip. This track invokes EVERGREY and AMORPHIS and has an incredibly catchy chorus “when no one’s alive!”
Falconer musically does have a nod to early AT THE GATES from the start. It is clearly a further sign that the band are heavily influenced by the Gothenburg scene which is no bad thing at all.
Shark is heavily influenced by Jaws and features a snippet from said film. It invokes melo-death techniques whilst breaking boundaries into other sub-genres too. This is another single from the album and showcases what the band are about and their style.
Hail to the king baby! The Manor is all things Army of Darkness! From an eerie intro it turns into a full-on assault with a catchy riff and it’s a real banger of a track. If this needed to be summed up in one word… GROOVY!
The intro for The Hardest Party does have nods towards Edvard Greig’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, (one of my favourite classical compositions). For me it is a song about embracing one’s darker side. It also features a wonderfully haunting keyboard solo amidst some sheer guitar prowess.
The Swamp Thing always comes across as a creature steeped in melancholy. This track feels poignant in its sound and is enhanced within its lyrics too: “where all my fears come from”.
Check in at the Bates Motel for this homage to the classic Hitchcock thriller. No Vacancy is told from the point of view of Norman Bates “Can murder be my disease?” This once again highlights the depth of the stories that KARPENTER are telling through their musical prowess along with their grips on horror lore. There are touches of earlier IN FLAMES tracks about this piece too.
From the intro one could have thought that Dark Mountain Side was taken from one of the earlier Black Metal bands but soon changes pace to one not dissimilar to THE UNGUIDED or SOILWORK. Lyrically this does hint towards some level of Lovecraftian madness too “how many times do you see the fear?” The outro does neatly bring the album to a close. At just over the half hour mark for album length it does seem to end before things really get going. Not dissimilar to when you watch a horror film, when there is lots of build-up but sadly just ends abruptly. This does whet the appetite but does leave you wanting more.
Plenty of bands over the years have merged horror with metal, and whilst this is nothing new, it is still refreshing for it to be done in this style. KARPENTER have unleashed a beast with this debut album which can only continue to cause devastation in its wake.
Words: Martin White
Sleepless is out now.
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