Cormorant – Dwellings (Self-Released)

Sunday, 24th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Considering the propensity for most labels to sign everything that breathes, it’s a tad surprising no one has picked up San Francisco’s Cormorant yet. Perhaps they don’t want to be signed…or they’re hard to negotiate with. Without splitting hairs over the subject, addressing their second foray,Dwellings is much easier than waxing on their 2009 Metazoa debut, which was the embodiment of the kitchen sink approach. With Dwellings, the band continues with the aforementioned approach, but this time, the results are more immediate.

Not trapped by one particular style, Cormorant is a hearty black/folk/melodic metal amalgation, privy to tapping into breathy songs that require some patience. Point being, a Cormorant song isn’t a regular jaunt through familiar terrains; it’s like a song within a song, within another song, that connects with another song. It’s an approach that proves to be feast or famine for the band, and while it’s neat to be operating without genre restrictions, at some point, you got to pick someone to go to the dance with.

The primarily fault of the album is that there’s no real standout track. Rather, we’re treated short bursts of brilliance, as in the classic metal-black metal mash-up and surge found on opener “The First Man” and the restrained portions of “Funambulist,” where clean vocals make an appearance. Beyond that, Slough Feg is banked on for “Confusion of Tongues,” (love the harmonies) and the proto-metal mid-section of “The Purest Land” is a sure-fire winner.

Cormorant makes life difficult for reviewers (and maybe even label honchos wanting Cormorant to sign on the dotted-line), yet the jist of the matter is thatDwellings is jam-packed with ideas a-plenty. It feels like the band are just a few steps away from hitting their stride, something they might have figured out by the time they get settled in for album #3. Who knows what will come of them once their respective ducks are in a row.

www.myspace.com/cormorantmusic

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)