Carpathian Full Moon

Serenades in Blood Minor

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Carpathian Full Moon's Serenades in Blood Minor begins with a token doom metal instrumental intro called "Moonrise..." and concludes with a similarly textbook closer named "...Dawn." In between, the Norwegian quintet conjures a pretty solid set of doom/death overtures, most of which adhere to the then nascent style's core characteristics, while also finding a little room to explore new territory. Though the grinding power chords and inspired leads of guitarists Endre Begby and Jorgen Hansen can claim most of the credit for this, atmospheric synthesizer swathes and eerie minor-key acoustic guitar passages are also introduced to great effect on standouts like "De Praestigus Daemonum 1563" and "Luna Garden." And rather than assuming the usual deep doom growl preferred by many of his contemporaries, vocalist Henrik Pettersen utilizes a hoarse rasp, which somehow lends mournful ruminations like "Above the Pantheon" and the title track an even deeper sense of gloom and despair. The one exception is "Sarah Ellen," where he tries a subdued falsetto on for size with decidedly sketchy results, but this hardly detracts from the album's otherwise steady flow. Years on, late arrivals may find Serenades' straightforward nature somewhat mundane, but the band can hardly be blamed. After all, when this record was released, the doom/death movement had only just come to prominence out of the U.K., and with that in mind, Carpathian Full Moon may even seem to be a little bit ahead of its time.

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