To spit in the eye of originality is something that many Black Metal bands set out to do with their inert ethos and uncompromising sound, yet rarely indeed does one come along that makes you really feel that originality isn’t needed and repetition so perfect that variety is meaningless in its existence. “The Torment Continues” is such an album. From the outset, I must confess that I was pre-disposed to hating this album as the dire “The Fire Gods” was my only previous experience with this band.
Full of rubbish “norsecore” melodies and reeking of mediocrity “The Fire Gods” has given way to a masterpiece of more natural and delightfully agonising qualities. Gone are the synthetic, dull drums in favour of far more emotive and effective skin-work, a trait continued throughout in the execution of each separate instrument.
The maintenance of such a torturous and torturing atmosphere that retains all of their former ferocity is somewhat at odds with the general reduction in pace, but the more refined riffs still bear their edge, leaving the overall effect being much sharper and more full. This is added by a crystal clear production that harks back to WATAIN’s “Casus Luciferi” as being alike in its perfection. CORPUS CHRISTII have never sounded this powerful, this compelling or this good. Furthermore, helped somewhat by the vocals and a continuing shift between two atmospheres, the album sounds both the oppressor and the oppressed. Harsh, painful and infinitely cruel “The Torment Continues” lives up to both sides of its name when it morphs into a titanic despair.
The usual blend of Black Metal styles are here in force, from the intense rhythm of MAYHEM to the despondent melody of GORGOROTH’s “Under The Sign Of Hell.” The blend of ferocity and presence is perfect. The vocal distortion that is so prevalent on later GORGOROTH and the American LEVIATHAN is but a small example of the contemporary Black Metal elements that CORPUS CHRISTII have employed to distance themselves from an entity born of pure nostalgia. Dwelling on the vocals for a little longer, it has to be said that these are the most ferocious and pained bellows I’ve heard in an age, somewhat similar to Arioch’s performance on FUNERAL MIST’s “Salvation” for quality.
There are times when people get frustrated with bands who fail to develop an identity separate from that of their forebears. Even within Black Metal’s uncompromising stagnancy there are times when you can’t help but scream with frustration at the wealth of tiny insignificant voices that join the Black Metal collective. Sheep in a scene which condemns them. Though they scream the same message, CORPUS CHRISTII have now become an integral voice that can be numbered among the strong, standout bellows that keeps the true Black Metal flame burning. “The Torment Continues” is perhaps the best Black Metal album of the year. (Online December 25, 2005)