These Norse Black Metal freaks obviously like bondage and domination, a lyrical topic they tackled in their previous release, Black Shining Leather. Well, that love hasn’t diminished at all, and songs like “Mask of the Slave” and the rather humorous “The Good Old Enema Treatment” are testimonies to how much fun they think it is. The rest of the songs are more in the vein of traditional Black Metal of the Norse sort with lyrics about death, destruction and general all-around evilness. The production on this album is a bit lacking in the guitar department as the bass and drums are quite prominent but the six-string is a little thin. A heavier guitar tone or louder volume would have helped make the riffs a bit more distinguishable. The faster parts particularly suffer from this as the guitars degenerate into what sounds like a chainsaw. When Carpathian Forest slows down and gets heavy, things definitely get better. The song “Cloak of Midnight” in particular is really good. When they slow down, their Celtic Frost influences really show through, and though there are a few blatantly Frost riffs on this, they don’t really hurt the band all that much. Strange Old Brew is a solid album that only adds to Carpathian Forest’s status as one of the leading bands from Norway.
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