Album Review: Cormorant – Dwellings

Cormorant [USA]
Full Length
Black/Folk Metal Cormorant – Confusion Of Tongues by heavymetaltribune (Purchase Dwellings at Cormorant‘s BandCamp page.)

USA’s Cormorant‘s past releases have caught the extreme metal scene by storm, with their debut EP and full length album garnering critical acclaim through their unique fusion of various different extreme metal sub-genres. Dwellings sees the band continue in the direction where they have set off from, and their appreciation of different kinds of art-forms is evident from their album artwork, which incidentally was the first thing that caught my attention and piqued my curiosity regarding the music behind the artwork.

The opening riffs of The First Man already displays the folk influences that are present on the band’s music, before the vocals of Arthur come in, with almost a sense of frenzy in his vocals, spitting out the lyrics to the songs with much rage and fury, but as the album progresses this makes him seem to only put on a false aggressive front, though this is certainly not something to complain about with the brilliance of the music that one is about to discover. Despite the pace that the band travels at, there is a weird sense of calm and peacefulness in the music as well that is displayed through the melodies of the songs. Unlike many other bands of similar genres, there is not much gain on the guitar, lacking the bite that most extreme metal bands utilise, but this helps in making the softer and more melodic passages on Dwellings more soothing and sincere. Vocalist Arthur also utilises different vocal approaches, depending on and adapting to what is going on in the background, ranging from extreme metal-styled growls and screams to clean vocals and whispers. The clean vocals that are present on songs like Funambulist remind listeners of such French bands as Amesoeurs and Alcest, with the pleasing vocal quality.

The music on Dwellings, as already mentioned, is mostly soothing and at times border on epic and atmospheric. For example, on Funambulist, the band takes a slowdown, focussing on producing a huge wall of sound with an almost fuzzy guitar tone. This is not to say that there aren’t heavy moments on the album though, as songs like Junta sees the band slowing down their music even further to a doom-pace, with heavily palm-muted riffs and hard hits on the drums, displaying the heavier side of Cormorant. There are also slightly more upbeat moments on tracks like A Howling Dust as well.

Throughout the album, the various instruments are also noticed to be made use of fully, especially the rhythmic instruments such as the bass of Arthur, with the softer segments seeing the bass taking over the lead role. The guitar solos also seem to take the role of bringing out and accentuating the emotional aspects of the music, with the soaring tone of the guitars, and guitarists Matt and Nick letting their instruments wail, at times sounding as if they were mourning the passing of a close friend. Drummer Brennan displays his versatility as well, through the band’s rapid switching between fast and slower moments, incorporating odd time signatures at the same time, yet never missing a single beat. The band’s abilities on their instruments is perhaps most evident on the instrumental Confusion of Tongues.

The strength of the band’s songwriting is such that even long tracks that range in the 10 minute region such as Funambulist and Unearthly Dreamings never fail to entertain and keep listeners enchanted, not only through the variations in the musical style in a single song, but also through the charismatic execution of the track, and the perfect amount of emotions that they have included in their music. With music as strong as such on Dwellings, it leaves one wondering why bands like Cormorant remained unsigned by major labels, but it could just as well remain so, considering the quality of the work that the band has managed to put out so far on their own, putting many other more recognised and more experienced bands to shame.

Cormorant on the internet:

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

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