Review Summary: Cormorants dwell in the past
Cormorant's establishment as independent metal heroes by critics and reviewers was easily justifiable. The 4-piece act from California conjures everything a good metal band should have in order to climb the ladder of success. They've got the skills, the fierce-looking-though-good-guys attitude, the sociopolitical lyrics and the angry at the world singer. So what could go wrong? Well, the fact is, that by judging them anachronistically, nothing can go wrong. Cormorant is the perfect manifestation of a kind of metal band that has faced extinction in the mainstream a long time ago.
Difficult to describe, Dwellings'
sound comes as a continuation of Metazoa's
diverse nature. That could be anything from the brashness of frenzied blastbeats to doomy, slow-paced parts. Cormorant's sound, while not massive, is characterized by a coherence that seems extensively worked and keeps the songwriting tight and fluid. The band's traditional metal roots, together with their Bay Area thrash provenance, deliver a balanced amalgam of technical adequacy, riffing efficiency and sense of melody. Often flirting with proggier structures, they manage to incorporate several distinct elements into a strictly metal palette: guitar leads and solos here and there, audible basslines,a handful of acoustic parts and a seemingly old-fashioned production miles away from the crystallized modern sound.
Yet, I cannot pass over the fact that Dwellings'
most powerful characteristic seems to be its ability to meander through several times of metal history. Mostly due to the band's disparate influences and their decision to stay independent and work without restrictions, Cormorants' music is more like living history. That's probably the reason of such a critical praise. It's not hard to imagine middle aged metal reviewers shedding some tears for the good ol' times - with Dwellings
being the existing reminder of those times. And maybe that's why I can't see this album as anything else than a good record in its genre.
Of course Cormorant never strove for innovation, but the whole 56 minutes of the album are really enjoyable. However, after the first good sips, the album tends to be kinda exhausting. The forced epic feeling of most of the songs, and their length, will provoke track skipping. The lyrics, while surpassing the usually supposed naiveness, are far from unpretentious lyricism and imagery. But pointing out all these inadequacies won't lead us anywhere. The fact is that Dwellings
is a gigantic album inside the metal community and as its name implies, a residence, always respectful to a rich and meaningful past. Let us dwell.