THE MONSTER IN ME
Release: April 26, 2019
After having read many good things about Carthagods’ second album, “The monster in me” and seeing the video for the title track I just knew I had to check it out. This Tunisian metal band made their official debut in the metal scene in 2015 with the self-titled “Carthagods” and but their history begins in 1997. It was one of the first metal bands to emerge from Tunisia and can be rightfully considered as the pioneers of the heavy metal scene in this country, mostly playing cover songs from such acts as Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Metallica or Pantera. In time the band appeared alongside Epica, Dark Tranquility, Anathema, Sepultura, Sabaton and has collaborated with Marcel Coenen, Timo Somers, Mark Jansen, or Zuberoa Aznárez, among many others.
Building on the strong foundation laid by their debut album, “The monster in me” sees Carthagods as a mature band that is carving its own sound and status on the metal scene, by blending the aggressiveness of heavy metal with the elegance of symphonic metal, and some progressive metal elements.
Whispers from the wicked
The monster in me
The Devil’s doll
A last sigh
Cry out for the land
Memories of never ending pains
The rebirth (orchestral)
The result – dynamic and diverse songs that offer powerful melodies, harmonic guitar lines, melodic vocal deliveries, and an overtone of dramatism from the backing arrangements. Add to this a polished production and wonderful orchestration by Vikram Shankar and you get a very enjoyable and fluid album.
Opening track “Whispers from the wicked” wastes no time in getting things under way with rhythmic guitar lines, powerful vocals, undercut or overlapped at times by harsh vocals from Dark Tranquility’s Mikael Stanne, but is it the symphonic backing arrangements that give it a darkly epic vibe, making it a highlight of the album. Such a great opener that hooks the listener immediately. Up next we have the first single released, “The monster in me” which has some faint oriental vibes to it from the violin lines, but overall it’s a rather rocking song with a catchy chorus to it, and a groovy guitar solo. “The Devil’s doll” has probably the best guitar melody on the album, courtesy of Tarak Ben Sassi, which coupled with Mahdi Khema’s dramatic vocal delivery and Timo Somers’s incredible solo mid-way through, make for an intense listening experience.
The power ballad “The Rebirth” is a mellow, mid-paced, and dramatic piece of music, that showcases, for the most part, Mahdi Khema’s more and intense soulful vocals. “A last sight” and “Memories of neverending pains” are familiar tunes since they both appeared on the band’s previous release, but these versions are orchestrated a bit differently to fit in with the intensity of the album, and I have to say I prefer these revamped renditions to the original tracks. “Cry for the land” features some of the best drumming sections I have heard on this album, courtesy of Aymen Ben Hamed, but overall it feels like a filler song. Closing the album is an instrumental track under the name of “The rebirth II” which is really a fascinating cut, and, I think it’s safe to say, one of my best instrumental tracks I have ever heard.
It may be a bit linear but “The monster in me” does offer some exciting stuff along the way, be it a riff, a solo, some violin lines in the background, a melodic interlude, or a catchy melody to keep the listener engaged. As I stated at the beginning Carthagods are now a mature band that are ready to bring their music to the masses. Really worth giving this album a spin or two. Personal highlights: “Whispers from the wicked”, “The monster in me” and “The rebirth II”.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Mahdi Khema – vocals
Tarak Ben Sassi – rhythm guitars
Timo Somers – lead guitars
Yessine Timon Belghith – bass
Zack Ben Black – drums