Cormorant – Metazoa (Saturnine Music)

Saturday, 16th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

In the American acoustic/folk-y/dark-y metal canon, no one tops Agalloch and surely no one ever well. Surprisingly, there are few imitators to this sound, only a handful of like-minded bands willing to bend beyond the standard templates set in the underground (read: Wolves in the Throne Room, Woods of the Ypres, but they’re Canadian). Enter Cormorant, who wields a giant swath of promise on Metazoa.

From purely a brutality perspective (yes, you can be brutal here), Cormorant doles out some crushing body blows on opener “Scavengers Feast.” Credit this to singer Nick Cohon’s deep, sub-growls. Maiden-esque melodies make their way through “Blood on the Cornfields,” but they too are supplemented by a grizzled vocal attack.

Cormorant hits their stride when they open things up and let the jams out. “Salt of the Earth,” (which has some great 70’s prog rock stylings) the 11 minute-plus “Hanging Gardens” and “The Emigrants Wake” all meander into totally unpretentious Opeth territory, culling from the various nooks and crannies of dark and folk metal. No surprise here – these moments are worth savoring.

As far as debuts go, Metazoa is one of the year’s most striking and free-form. There’s lot to build upon here and since the band is so organic in nature, expect a Agalloch-like transformation. You know – the one where a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. A dark, black one…if those exist.

www.myspace.com/cormorantmusic

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)