Cormorant – Earth Diver (Self-Released)

Thursday, 17th April 2014
Rating: 8/10

One of the bigger bands out there in terms of the DIY ethos, Cormorant has made a significant mark in the metal scene with almost no outside help. Having released two albums with vocalist Arthur von Nagel, there were many skeptics who thought that Cormorant’s days were numbered with his departure. With a new vocalist and successful crowd funding campaign in their pockets, Cormorant has returned with Earth Diver to squash any and all naysayers.

The bottom line here is that Cormorant still sounds like Cormorant. Progressive, blackened riffs, doomy and folky atmospheres, and even a little bit of traditional metal bombast, Cormorant continue to refine their sound. It may cheapen things a bit but imagine taking Opeth, Agalloch, Enslaved, and Slough Feg into a blender and you might get something that sounds like Cormorant.

The sheer diversity in songwriting is what allows Cormorant to get away with routinely long tracks (the songs, other than the opening “Eris”, tend to linger sometimes well past the six-minute mark). The acoustic “Eris” opens the album in such high regard its hard not to hit back and listen to it again. Once you’ve had your fill there you can get into the meat of things with the sludgy opening of “The Pythia,” the Opeth-ian intro to “Broken Circle,” the gorgeously melodic black metal stylings of “Sold as a Crow,” the driving riffs of “Daughter of Void,” the sweeping guitar/vocal harmonies of “Mark the Trail,” and many more but you get the point here. Cormorant take their time with each piece, giving it ample breathing room and allowing a natural flow to occur in each song.

Successfully overcoming the shadow of an esteemed vocalist can be daunting. Cormorant have come out the other side unscathed and passed their test with flying colors. There’s a reason that Cormorant has established such a stature (with no label help), if you haven’t checked them out before now, your timing couldn’t be better to familiarize yourself with Earth Diver.

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