This is the latest release from Austrian black metal band Carathis.
Carathis is essentially a solo act that is augmented by a drummer. This is an interesting release in that it consists of two EPs. The Amethyst Fortress, (the first five tracks), came out in 2021, and The Moonstone Temple, (the final four tracks), which is not officially released on digital until this compilation is on CD in February 2023.
The Amethyst Fortress is 25 minutes of black metal that’s raw and melodic. Symphonic aspects are included in the music, and I like how these are used very much. The synths are standout elements on these songs, but the entire package presented is a strong one. The songs are well-crafted and vicious, but have an innate grandeur that’s compelling. All of the tracks are killer, but my favourite cut has to be The Crimson Gate.
The 21-minute EP The Moonstone Temple continues the style, only with an even greater sense of self and a larger, punchier sound. The songs are as well-crafted as the previous ones, but with a more epic and stirring feel, one that’s quite upbeat in mood in places. The viciousness has been dialled back somewhat, to be replaced with a broader display of epic majesty. There seems to be a classic heavy metal influence too, in places. It’s great to hear the progression in the artist’s songwriting, and these new songs are more varied and richly detailed. I think overall I prefer the darker sound of the earlier EP, but this is only a minor preference, as The Moonstone Temple is not without its own share of darkness. My favourite song on this side is probably The Prayer.
Across a total of 45 minutes Carathis have created compelling blackened worlds for the listener to explore. For all of the songs on Amethyst & Moonstone both the synths and the melodies propel the music above the average, and the songwriting overall means that this release is a superior example of underground black metal.
Very highly recommended.