‘If you want something doing, you’re best doing it yourself’. Time and time again, this saying has proven true and in the case of Henrik Nygren from Malmö, Sweden, when he was trying to create his own musical venture. Unable to find anyone who was up for a new project, the guitarist enlisted the assistance of a friend who helped him get to grips with the production side of the recording process before he seized his musical idea with both hands and tackled it head-on. The result: the self-titled debut “Carchosa” which is an ambitious mixture of Thrash, Melodic Death Metal, elements of Progressive Metal and some Power/Euro metal for good measure.

With such a blend of styles and influences present on the recording, it is hard to pinpoint just who Henrik’s main musical influences are. With the heavy effects layered across the vocals, you would think ‘Uncle Al’ of Ministry is one. Some of the acoustic and cleaner sections bring shades of Annihilator to mind and the lead sections could resemble any number of competent musicians who understand the art of playing what naturally fits the song as opposed to Senseless fretboard wankery of the highest order. Instead of constant high-speed shredding, you find rich harmony leads which drive the tracks forward. You get well-balanced guitar solos which build in presence and momentum, technically solid sequences which flow to Well-executed and flowing sweep-picked arpeggios. This isn’t your usual mix of progressive–leaning melodic thrash/death in the slightest.

Lengthy tracks which are consistent and solid throughout the7 tracks on this release flow well. Opening effort “Unfathomable” weighs in at around 9 minutes in length, and it manages to incorporate some Queensrÿche style harmony leads and plenty of straightforward Scandinavian MDM intensity, all rounded off with some sweet symphonic-feel atmospheric instrumental work in the thick of it. “Rise Of The Valkyries” sacrifices inventiveness for full-on thrash metal riffery and later in the release; “Ghost Insidious” draws on the more creative and expressive stylings of Annihilator – laying out some highly technical and proficient thrash with plenty of expression and melodic substance. Closing track “Damnation” clocks in at over 12 minutes and it manages to summarise and finish the record well, drawing from all the tracks in some shape/form.

Whilst the compositional aspects of “Carchosa” are well executed, there are some slip-ups. The effects-laden vocals work in some places but for the most part, they don’t quite fit, seeming to feel either simply out of place, or just simply along for the ride and easy to overlook. The slight lack of adventurous playing is there too. Whilst gratuitous and non-constructive guitar fretwankery is extremely annoying, the lack of spontaneous leads does hinder. The meticulous composition and making sure everything is organic and ‘not forced’ shows attention to detail and some signs of perfectionism, but this almost mechanical approach leads to a lack of life/a spark on the release in places.

In all, “Carchosa” is a decent release and a double-edged sword. Whilst it shines as an example of well thought out composition and musical prowess, it lacks the fire/passion/spark needed to capture the imagination like MDM-Thrash hybrids usually do. Theoretically viable but undetermined effectiveness in execution.

(6.5/10 Fraggle)