Synthwave Sunday: Carpenter Brut, Trilogy
Why are so many of synthwave’s top artists from France? Beats me. But why was Tampa the cradle of American death metal? Massachusetts the birthplace of metalcore? And why did black metal spew forth from Norway’s icy, chilled loins? I haven’t spent enough time in France — the indubitable epicenter of the synthwave / retrowave movement — to be familiar with whatever underbelly inspired so much music that’s so dark and sinister, but it’s certainly there, lurking, waiting, hulking, brooding, just below the surface.
More to that whole “synthwave is metal” theory: whoever’s behind Carpenter Brut would certainly get all the references in the above paragraph. There’s the music, of course, which is dark and gnarly and hits as hard as a Chase Utley
slide tackle. But then there’s the painfully on-point imagery and aesthetic, taking an obvious cue from metal. The album cover (above), the occult-inspired track names, the mysterious identity of the man behind the curtain, the upside down crosses, and then… THIS FUCKING T-SHIRT:
Carpenter Brut’s chosen moniker is so perfectly literal. Carpenter — as in John, the master of horror — done gross. And gross it is: filthy and heavy as in EP III opener “Division Ruine,” the slimy and sleazy saxophone on “Paradise Warfare,” just downright DIRTY like coke of a mirrored table on “Disco Zombi Italia,” and melancholic and sad as on “Obituary,” as if we may actually be hearing the epitaph for humankind, recently overtaken by the machines once and for all.
Carpenter Brut released EP I, EP II and EP III separately starting in 2012 then compiled them all together for the ultimate Trilogy release in February of 2015 (subtlety doesn’t seem to have been Brut’s strongsuit when it comes to naming). I’ve embedded just EP III below since I feel it’s the darkest of the bunch, but do yourself a favor and check out the full Trilogy collection at Bandcamp; I and II have some absolute bangers on them as well.