The successor to 'Fatherland' sees Ancient Rites pretty much abandon their origins altogether, in favour of fully embracing a folk metal style with elements of melodic death metal and even more light-hearted power metal. I had quite a shock when I remembered at a late point in this album that this was the band that recorded 'The Diabolic Serenades,' and although the arguments in favour of either of those two, vastly different releases would realistically favour this one, it's still a shame that the band has deviated so far and couldn't maintain the perfect harmony of 'Fatherland.'
The real stars of 'Dim Carcosa' are guitar duo Erik Sprooten and Jan Yrlund, who twin leads and satisfying, chugging riffs are clearly defined by the high production values, even if they make the whole thing sound even less black metal than it was managing already, only retaining a semblance of doubt through Walter Van Cortenberg's fast drums that more often than not sound out of place and end up being one of the album's primary failings for their incompatibility to most songs. Although the general style is still as epic as 'Fatherland,' rife with sweeping orchestration and keyboards, the songs tend to be a lot shorter and more to-the-point which is also a little disappointing in light of the previous album's extended masterpieces, but it's understandable when listening to the drawn-out 'North Sea,' the only song of substantial length here at six minutes, which relies far too much on repetition - even if it's the repetition of excellent guitars.
Günther Theys growls a lot less here too, spending most of his time in clearly legible yelling and singing styles that remind of Viking metal and thrash (occasionally he even sounds like Megadeth's Dave Mustaine), and as with the last album there are some spoken word passages as well as a very nice, soft duet with a female singer in opener 'The Return.' The lyrical themes are once again predominantly those of national, cultural and historical pride typical of the genre that the band now falls squarely into, and the song 'Gotterdammerung' offers a far more considered and meaningful attack on Christianity than the band's earlier, laughably blasphemous works, instead targeting its historical atrocities of eradicating cultural belief systems and vying for total domination, practices that the band suggests have continued to this day (surely not!) This album will be a slight disappointment for black metal fans in the wake of 'Fatherland,' but it's still a great folk metal album tilted towards the extreme side, and has the potential to appeal to many new fans who would be scared away by Ancient Rites' earlier stuff, or simply consider it too corny. Fair enough.
1. The Return
2. Exile (Les litanies de Satan)
3. Victory or Valhalla (Last Man Standing)
4. ...and the Horns Called for War
5. North Sea
6. Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods)
7. (Ode to Ancient) Europa
9. Lindisfarne (Anno 793)
10. On Golden Fields (De Leeuwen Dansen)
11. Dim Carcosa
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Exile (Les Litantes de Satan)
3 Victory or Valhalla (Last Man Standing)
4 ...And the Horns Called for War
5 North Sea
6 Gotterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
7 (Ode to Ancient) Europa
9 Lindisfarne (Anno 793)
10 On Golden Fields (De Leeuwen Dansen)
11 Dim Carcosa