Spain: sunny vacation spot for European yuppies, home to two giant football clubs, and a generally laid-back place. There is a seedy underbelly to all this of course, as evidenced by those Basque terrorists and a steadily growing Black Metal scene. MALKUTH, CARCHAROTH, DANTALION, MORBID YELL... the list of impressive names continues to grow. Catalan-based FOSCOR have been part of this fray for a good few years and I’m pleased that they are another outfit to keep an ear out for.
Their proclivity for left-field riffs, angular melodies, moan-y vocals and generally fluid song structures clearly paint these guys as a rather modern Black Metal band, albeit one that has more in common with the harrowing din of depressive Black Metal disciples SHINING than, say, DIMMU BORGIR. Along the way they also try their collective hand at the dreary Blackened post-Rock of KATATONIA and LIFELOVER, and they make a pretty good stab at this kind of sound for the most part. The sound is crisp and clear, the performances are quite spot-on and an assured vibe of confidence permeates the songs, which is always nice to observe. Their mix of riff-driven depressive Black Metal and moody post-Rock leanings come together quite deftly on numbers like the title track (huge intro riff here that is very epic in its own right), the GORGOROTH-ish “The Amber Nest” and the jangly jazz-tinged instrumental “La Incertesa Del Plaer”. These tracks may not rely on the traditional Black Metal speed or brute force but they have a suitably slithery vibe of murkiness to them that really hit the right balance between current SHINING and KATATONIA. They even throw in some effective Stoner-ish clean wails in here and there which works surprisingly well, I might add.
So why the average rating then? Simply because large portions of this album have a tendency to drag on rather aimlessly. The opening three tracks are classy efforts but the album loses steam soon afterwards and it never quite recovers after that. In light of the banal nature of tracks like “La Vetila”, “’Till Water Mirrors Could Not See” and “Searching A Seal Of Pain (The Beauty)” I have come to the conclusion that there really is only an EP’s worth of great material on here. The dip in quality is not that severe but it definitely dampens the impact of the opening salvo of tracks. Overall it’s a decent effort, though, and if you care to check out the promising Spanish Black Metal scene then the name FOSCOR deserves a shot.
(Online July 8, 2009)