Review Summary: Corpus Christi banalize their sound but retain a shred of their former promise.1 of 2 thought this review was well written
Formation changes are one of the worst afflictions plaguing any given band. And while replacing a drummer or a bass player may not be that big a deal – for most bands, it isn’t – when you are forced to replace every member of your band apart from yourself, some changes will inevitably come about.
This was the situation for Corpus Christi in 2010. After a very promising debut album, the band was subject to a gradual exodus, eventually leaving guitarist and clean vocalist Jarrod Christman, as the only founding member, with an entire group to rebuild. Christman diligently set about the matter, and a few months later the band was releasing their sophomore opus, which, as expected, brought a somewhat different sound than its predecessor.
Effectively, A Feast For Crows
sees Corpus Christi move away from their stereotypical melodicore sound and settle in the neighborhood of straight-up death metal with subtle hardcore influences. There's a marked increase in blastbeats, the growls are deeper (and much worse) than before, the lyrics have moved away from relationships-and-religion to the much more banal commonplace angst, and even the melodies are much more rugged this time around. The distinguishing factors continue to be the clean choruses, traditional thrash solos and slight atmospheric passages the band insert into their songs, and in this respect, not much has changed - the hooks are still huge and the ambiances still interesting. Pity that everything else is executed so much worse than on The Darker Shades Of White
In fact, this sophomore release sees Corpus Christi take a significant stumble, and while they never really fall off the cliff, they teeter dangerously on the edge for most of this album. The beginning in particular is disheartening, as interesting intro The Red Horse Is Upon Us
is followed by three tracks of the most pedestrian death metal imaginable. The only redeeming feature are the choruses, and even they sound directly lifted from the previous album. Betrayed Redemption
is a telltale example of what is wrong with these songs, as it traps the best chorus on the album in a painfully banal song, making the listener yearn to listen to it on a really
good track. Overall, this is quite an unpromising beginning, which sends the album spiralling into low-grade territory.
Fortunately, fifth track Little Miss Letyouknow
begins to turn the tide, as it is a rather strong track which relies more on melody than on the piss-poor growling. It also helps usher in an entirely new (and much stronger) section of the album. Actually good songs begin to timidly surface, starting with the brilliant piece of atmospheric soloing called Windwalker
; and while monotony does still set in at times (Broken Man
and Shepherds in Sheep's Clothing
in particular are very weak), it is anointed by the presence of genuinely strong tracks like Blood On The Water
- a fun, dumb headbanger through and through - or Invictus
, featuring what is possibly the most elegant chorus of the band's career. These tracks eventually help even out the balance of the album, keeping it on the edge and saving it from the downward spiral it seemed ready to embark on.
Still, some aspects about A Feast For Crows
cannot be disregarded. Like how much worse the growls are, or how much more banal it all sounds. And while it is true that the lyrics have vastly improved, it's nothing short of ironic to see the best of them used on one of the worst songs here (Monuments
) and the worse used on what is arguably the best (Blood On The Water
). In the end, the impression one gets is that Corpus Christi have managed to retain some of the promise they showed on their debut, but have sadly chosen to banalize their sound to the extreme, losing the edge they had over the competition a year and a half before. Time will tell if these are merely growing pains, or if this is the path the band ultimately decides to take. As it is, A Feast For Crows
stands as a typically average and slightly discouraging transitional album.
Little Miss Letyouknow
Blood On The Water