By Carl Begai
Following up their respectable low-key 2015 debut, Behold, the German trio Fall Of Carthage return with a thundering second record that quite frankly puts album #1 to shame. Everything about The Longed-For Reckoning is bigger, better, and loaded with major league potential. Best to leave the genre-specific tags, stamps and brands in the box; Fall Of Carthage are a no-nonsense bordering-on-brutal metal band, as they encompass and embrace the groove and thrash that made Testament, Pantera and Machine Head go-to bands for rivet-heads the world over. Additionally, there are dozens of crushing moments reminiscent of guitarist James Murphy’s classic Convergence album. Quite the victory for guitarist Arkadius Antonik, who is currently celebrating a 20 year career under his belt as the frontman and brainchild behind folk metal veterans Suidakra. Fall Of Carthage gives him the chance to simply shut up and play, cranking out some of the juiciest riffs of his existence since Suidakra’s classic Emprise To Avalon album released way back in 2002.
And the song arrangements…. prepare for a rollercoaster ride thanks to drummer Martin Buchwalter, who goes beyond anything he’s done with Perzonal War. Grab a listen to “Turning Point”, “Dust And Dirt” and “Fast Forward” for an overview of what to expect, then prepare to be knocked ass over teacup as you wind your way through the record.
Credit where it’s due, vocalist Sascha Aßbach is a razor-edged diamond dragged out of the rough. The man never descends into the far-too-overdone territory of Soilwork flip-flop vocals, instead delivering a multi-faceted performance crossing the likes of Chuck Billy (Testament), Robb Flynn (Machine Head), Athera (ex-Susperia) with occasional nods to Phil Anselmo and even Dani Filth.
There are a few head-scratcher moments on The Longed-For Reckoning. The effect looped “Complete” and “Tapeworms” are reminiscent of In Flames’ experimental tracks on Sounds Of A Playground Fading, while “Whodini Peckerwood” and “Purile Scumbag” come off as Stuck Mojo demos, rap vocals and all. Weird and out of place, sure, but given that Fall Of Carthage was launched for the sake of having fun with music, the trio shouldn’t have to apologize for a few curveballs punched through the windows of their own house.
“Dust And Dirt”
“Swept To The Edge”
“For The Soul To Save”
“Suffer The Pain”
“Down Like Honey”
“Paint It White”
“Bury The Crisis”