Carisma - 1825


Year of Release: 1997
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:22:00

It's no secret that some of my favorite all-time discs are concept discs. So when I found out many moons ago that this disc [,Carisma's 1825,] was a concept disc, I went on a disc hunt and found out that the disc was long out of print.

Great things do happen in the prog metal world, and I was lucky enough to grab a couple of copies of this disc. Furthermore, the band simultaneously decided to repress about 300 more copies of this disc, and I am even more ecstatic that everyone now has a chance to own this gem.

It's going to be very hard to describe this disc, but not because it is any different from any other concept disc, but because of the emotion and story line behind it. It would be so much easier to say that a disc sounds like Operation : Mindcrime, or The Wall but when a disc comes along that is built on tons of emotion, say like Eternity X's The Edge, it becomes difficult to describe those feelings in text.

Knowing my lack of geographical skills on the other side of the globe, I am pretty sure that this band is from Denmark. How this band went obscured for so long, is one of the great mysteries of our time. It's not only exciting to discover bands like this exist out there, but it's a bit discouraging to know that this band might have gone totally unnoticed except for a few lucky people on the European side of the world. The band has 3 discs released, one called In A Moonland, and the other name eludes me at the moment. I've tried to seek out those discs as well but I am told that even the band doesn't have any more copies left and probably will only repress the 1825 discs, which is a plus for the prog metal world.

Before I describe the music, I thought I'd give a bit of information about the story line behind this disc. I am not a historian, so I don't know much about what this story about personally. What the band has done, is take a historical event, write a story about it and then set some awesome, melodic prog metal to it. I know a lot of bands write this way, but I found it intriguing that a band would pick a historical event to write about and then try to set music to it in this manner. Somehow, it works. The story is about a woman named Maren Nielsdatter who lived from 1807-1825. She fell in love with a young man, but her rich father would not let her marry below her dignity. The story continues on as Maren and her lover plot to murder the man that her father wishes her to marry, but they are caught, and Maren's lover turns them all in as being the murderers. They are then sentenced to death. There is much more to the story than this, and the band write a long story about the event in the CD insert. Very intriguing.

THE STYLE

Once again, I wish I could give an easy description of what this disc sounds like, but it is difficult. It is definitely melodic prog metal with an emphasis on MELODIC. If I had to pick a band that this band resembles at least in a bit of the style or sound, I would have to say that Queensryche is that band. Erik Welty[, a Perpetual Motion poster,] has pointed out that he hears some Dividing Horizons-styled music in the sound, and I have to agree except that most don't know what Dividing Horizons sounds like, so this is the dilemma. The music is some of the warmest prog metal I have ever heard. It is a guitar / keyboard driven mix with the guitars laying down the base sound, while the many swirling synths create a haunting atmosphere to go with the strange story line. To my ears, the combination is brilliant. For those of you who like their keyboarded prog metal, this is the ticket. Between the piano and the synths, there is enough wamrth here to keep you warm throughout the winter without a blanket. The music is absolutely gorgeous without sacrificing their heaviness or progression. When prog metal is played this beautifully, it somehow becomes so hard to explain in text what the basic sound is that the band is trying to put across. Thus, it is easy to say that this band drives it's music home with emotion, and uses the beauty to force you to pick up the lyric sheet, which is quite long, and follow along as they sing of Maren's life, loves, and death. I found myself actually feeling bad for Maren about halfway through this disc, and I could feel the chills as Kare Amelung sings of Maren's undying love for her boyfriend. All I can say basically is this: If you can imagine what Queensryche would sound like now taking some haunting sounds from The Warning, and mixing in some emotional parts of Promised Land, and injecting enough wamrth to almost make you cry, this is what you are in for. This disc is definitely one the most beautifully played disc I have ever heard.

THE BAND:

It is hard to see exactly who plays what in this band, due to the strange style of writing on the insert, but I am gathering that the following lineup applies:

Kare Amelung / Vocals, bass
Jon Froda / Keyboards
Jan Black / Guitars
Jesper Arvidson / drums

This band has one of the most cohesive sounds I've heard in a long while, and no one instrument actually stands out on its own, except for the singer, who merits his own paragraph below. The band is bent on taking the sum of all of their instruments and creating this huge, dramatic, emotional sound that is Carisma. I can't think of any other way to describe what they are doing because I can't say that one instrument stands out more than the others. The sound is totally balanced, with each instrument being played with so much vigor and emotion to create a unique sense of urgency, and once again, I relate this to the story because these guys know exactly when to kick it in, and tone it down during different parts in the story to either enhance what Maren is going through, or to make us feel sad when she does. It is simply amazing how the band wrote this music to enhance the story line. Make no mistake about it though, these guys are well versed in the art of prog metal, and no doubt could cut loose at any time, but the control and attention to detail that this band shows is nothing short of amazing. It is one of the few discs that I am actually following the story line more than I am the music, because somehow they manage to make the subject matter the dominant force, with the music set to the lyrics. Intriguing is the only word I can think of over and over again.

THE PRODUCTION:

If there are any complaints with this disc, it will come from this area, and even then not much can be found. However, to nit pick the way this disc was recorded is trivial compared to what the disc is offering the listener. Ok, I'll do it for the sake of argument down the road. I've already heard that the guitar sound is a bit on the "tinny" side, and I tend to agree at times. However, it works. Other times, the use of acoustic giutars are being added to the electric sound, and this pheonemenon quickly fades from ears. This is not exactly a bad thing, except if you are a guitar player looking for a crunchier sound and getting this particular sound. Who knows, it may even be intentional. For some reason, the beauty of this disc makes you quickly forget about minor discrepancies in the recording process. The drums can be considered a bit on the tinny side as well, but again, the entire sound as a whole of this disc will quickly make you forget about individual drawbacks in the recording. The keyboards, however, are one of the shining points here. They stand out like a proud father, creating a huge, melodic backdrop for this haunting story of theirs. As you listen to this music, there is no doubt that the keyboards are responsible for this epic sound. The bass is another interesting part of this disc. Unlike a lot of other discs, it is hard to hear the bass lines. On this disc, the bass is easily heard along with the rest of the music, and bass players get out your instruments and follow along with this disc, because they had bass in mind when they recorded this thing. On the first song or two, beware. The bass is actually bit higher in the mix and my subwoofer popped more than once during the intro songs, and I had to shut it off. How is that for heavy? The singer? Well, he is another story.

The singer

Kare Amelung. The driving force behind this band as far I am concerned. Anyone out there remember what Geoff Tate sounded like on Promised Land's "Someone Else?" The last song on Promised Land where Geoff is singing just to a piano? Well, thats what Kare Amelung sounds like throughout this disc. There is more than a passing resemblance to Geoff Tate, although with the slightest hint of an accent at times. Kare stays exactly within one range, and I find myself wishing he would let loose like Geoff on some of the songs, but that is just my desire to hear the "good old days" ... in the meantime, Kare is a superb singer. There is no doubt that he can hit the high notes if he wanted to, but the music does not call for it. His voice is super pleasant, and at times makes you feel either as happy or as sad as Maren is throughout the story, and this adds another dimension to this disc. I have never heard a disc that is so bent on drawing you into the story the way this one does. Between the music, in its dramatic fashion continously bringing you up and down, and Kare's voice bringing the emotional words to you, it is more than difficult not to grab the lyric sheet and be entranced by the story.

THE COMMENTS

If I sound excited, I am. Not only am I excited for having had the fortune of great friends find this disc for me, I am excited about the fact that the band decided to release more copies for the rest of the world to hear them in all their glory. Concept disc lovers, who want to sit back, turn out the lights and get lost in a deep, different, meaningful story will love this thing. It's beauty defies my description here. Those into the more melodic side of prog metal as I am, are going to filp over this disc as well. WARMTH is the key word here, and I know there are tons of people who are always looking for that mandatory warmth in their prog metal. Look no further, its here. I defy anyone not to get goosebumps on the 3rd song, "Heed My Call." I play this song over and over again to watch the goosebumps arise time and time again, and its a challenge to keep this from happening. Overall, this is one of the biggest surprises for me of 1997. The disc is 52:00 long [though the total track times differ -ed], and I will say that the ending is bit abrupt. It ends without warning, but I'll bet this is intentional as well, because this disc is one long roller coaster ride of emotions, and the frustration you feel when this thing ends is indicative of what the rest of the disc is about. Melodic Prog Metal lovers, unite!!!! This is ESSENTIAL!!!!!!


Tracklisting:
Marriage Of Convenience (5:23) / Wind Dreams (5:25) / Heed My Call (4:06) / Closing Rhyme (4:17) / Tears In My Eyes (3:37) / Lean On (5:09) / Killing Tribe (4:32) / Nothing Left (But Saying Goodbye) (4:59) / Twisted Minds (4:30) / Hate Is Homeless Love (3:13) / Epilogue (5:31)

Musicians:
K?re Amelung - vocals and bass
Jon Froda - keyboards
Jan Black - guitars
Jesper Arvidson - drums

Discography:
In A Moonland (1992)
'New World' (1995)
1825 (1996/1997)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DK

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 1199
Language: english

  

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