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Old Corpse Road - The Echoes Of Tales Once Told (7,5/10) - Great Britain - 2009

Genre: Black Metal / Folk
Label: Self-production
Playing time: 25:00
Band homepage: Old Corpse Road

Tracklist:

  1. The Old Corpse Road
  2. The Wild Hunt
  3. The Oakmen Of Naddle Forest

This is undoubtedly one of the strangest band names in Metal I have come across. It surely looks awkward at first sight but as you read the band’s webpage and become absorbed by their music you will notice how well everything is planned here. It is pretty surprising if you take into consideration that “The Echoes Of Tales Once Told” is only the first effort from this quintet that hails somewhere from the northern parts of The United Kingdom.

 

It all begins with an ominous keyboard passage fitting better the standards of Symphonic Black Metal release rather than a Folk Black one. While it might remind you of a church organ, the evil factor present here indicates that in a moment something fierce will be unleashed. And indeed from the frenzied blast beats, abrasive guitar chaos and piercing shrieks rises an untamed force which wreaks havoc upon the poor listeners’ ears. Certain signs of civilized manners in case of these British barbarians can be seen as the elegant keyboard reappears, yet still the general impression is that you are all the time in the eye of the storm. This force becomes a bit less bloodthirsty in the chorus part where the keys have again more to say and the band shows their skills in creating attention-grabbing swinging fragments. As the most significant chorus component, the keyboards are formed in a somewhat kitschy way, which might have associations with the first efforts from the Swedish THYRFING. In contrast to the opening title track, the other two are not as catchy. Sure, a number of fine moments can be discovered here (check the furious passage at the end of the second minute of the third track which comes back several times later in the song) but the band’s tendency to make their deed more complex results in filling them with material that firstly seems to be somewhat average. Cases in point are the moments, during which one can hear the vocalist recite the lyrics on the background of Folk music accompaniment generated by the keyboard section. While it is undoubtedly atmospheric, one might think that the Brits could have conjured up something more powerful and straightforward, especially after having kicked off with such a good piece of Metal in form of the album opener. Initially, the above-said can not be changed even though OLD CORPSE ROAD have ability to insert such interesting long motives like the middle part of “The Oakmen Of Naddle Forest” which resembles a bit of ULVER and features moody chanting full of longing. It is only after some repeated listening and reading the lyrics that you finally get the group’s point. Suddenly each element of their story fits perfectly one another and the whole thing emerges simply as a puzzle that might engage you for long hours.

 

As far as the production is concerned, “The Echoes Of Tales Once Told” have been wrapped – despite their raw fundaments – in a fairly warm package. Instead of chilly blizzard blasts one can rather prepare himself/herself for being surrounded by a pleasant breath of the ancient woods. Only occasionally there is a rotten smell floating in the guitar air but this is a thing one must be aware of when communing with nature that sometimes provides a part of its space as a trail, through which corpses are being carried to their final place of rest.

 

What is also worth attention as regards this demo is the well thought-out lyrical plane that is focused on the old folkloric tales and history of the British Isles (though, even some wider recognized motifs appear vide the “Wild Hunt”). Just read the lyrics while listening to this music and you will probably see how good the band are at creating a complete piece of musical art, for it is not only the sounds that matter in music and OLD CORPSE ROAD seem to be well aware of that.

 

“The Echoes Of Tales Once Told” is a record easily recommendable especially to those interested in a combination of Black Metal and Folk music, which offers something more apart from good tunes. To put it simply – a very good debut on the Pagan Metal scene.

(Online January 3, 2010)

Sebastian Jazdzewski



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