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Review: Cormorant - Dwellings

Label: Independent
Year released: 2011
Duration: 55:44
Tracks: 7
Genre: Progressive Metal


Review online: April 10, 2012
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.09/5 (81.82%) (11 Votes)

Album number two from California's surreal metal maestros Cormorant, Dwellings. This release is one that has particularly wowed me over the last few weeks, after having prematurely almost written it off. What initially attracted me to Dwellings was its absolutely stunning artwork (especially the full-sized long version).

On first impressions I found the gargantuan arrangements brought forth on Dwellings to be impenetrable and struggled to grasp what the band were going for, and you know what they were trying to say with the music here. Having shelved the album for a month or so I decided it was time to give this another chance, and I'm glad it did because this time around it just clicked. The melodies took hold, the riffs hit their mark and I altogether grasped the release. Their overall sound is a hard one to peg, but I'd say a Frankenstein mix of Bergtatt-era Ulver, Orchid-era Opeth and limbs of early folk-laden Slough Feg, with lashings of UK death metalers Mithras would be a good starting point.

Everything here is impeccably well conceived, from the masterful delivery of the actual music to the brilliant lyrics; the band oozes a lot of ability. The melodies are particularly well done, and while at first they sort of passed me by, on my second or third listen I began to follow them, hanging on each and every note almost like in the old cartoons where a character would float along to a visible scent. Tracks such as "Junta" and "Unearthly Dreamings" display these melodies to superb effect, with the latter standing as the highlight of Dwellings. The vocals are quite good here, and remind me of Ansur in places though the growls and shrieks are far, far stronger here.

Whilst the album boasts a lot of draining, almost plodding melody, just about every track houses aggressive outburst that really solidify the quality of the listening experience, folk-style melodies are delivered well, with an instrumental track ("Confusion of Tongues") showing the band's capability in these folk melodies, as well as the riff department, largely reminiscent of Slough Feg. The production is ideal here, and really there isn't a lot left to say. This keeps growing on me, and I have no idea how well I'm going to like this down the line. Fans of progressive metal, post-black, folk and melodic death metal are going to want to get this. As much a great album as it is an artistic statement. Highly recommended.

More about Cormorant...
Interview with Cormorant on February 11, 2010 (Interviewed by Nahsil)
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