Corelia
New Wilderness


4.0
excellent

Review

by Parthan Shiv CONTRIBUTOR (66 Reviews)
May 12th, 2020 | 77 replies


Release Date: 05/19/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I’m just trying to find some closure”

At the end of “Blight of Imagination”—the 10 minute epic that serves as the climax of New Wilderness—Ryan Devlin sings, “I still have a chance to make up for lost time”. There is undeniable poignance in that line. In fact, the lyrics across the album are steeped in poignance—or irony, depending on your point of view—because they largely deal with overcoming one’s struggles while casting a hopeful eye to the future. Considering the drama surrounding the band and the genesis of this album,[1] that dream didn’t play out quite the way anyone hoped it would. But here we are, in May 2020, and Corelia’s controversial and long-awaited debut LP has finally seen the light of day and...damn, just think of what could have been.

Quite frankly, New Wilderness is really good. Much better than it has any right to be. The demo-quality production—improved somewhat by a kind soul on reddit who ran it through LANDR’s automatic mastering service[2]—doesn’t do it many favours, but it also doesn’t detract from the vision that the band had for it. New Wilderness supposedly took three years to write, and it certainly sounds like it. It’s expansive and ambitious and filled with enough intricacy and dynamism that even repeated listens don’t offer any obvious dead spots or skippable tracks while providing plenty of highlights. It’s also mature and assured enough to develop ideas organically to proper conclusions instead of switching gears at random. More than half of the album’s sixteen tracks pass the five-minute mark, but transition so seamlessly from technical metal sections to gentle clean passages and back again, while subtly mutating and adding new twists to the riffs and melodies at every turn, that their runtime never seems excessive. There is real adventurousness here, and even a sense of humour, like on the Alex Jones clip at the end of “Thoughtcrime” and the retro Moog-sounding keyboard solos such as the one on “Stellar”, but it’s anchored by the palpable sense that the band know where they wants the songs to go, and how to get them there, rather than throwing random riffs at the wall to see what sticks.

New Wilderness largely avoids progressive metalcore clichés and, despite coming close to sounding like BTBAM worship on some of the heavier moments of tracks like “Bastion” and “Blight of Imagination”, there’s enough originality in guitarist Chris Dower and drummer Clayton Pratt’s playing to put a pin in any notion of derivativeness. Dower in particular has a knack for segue-ing from knotty riffs into soaring solos so fluidly and organically that it makes the solos feel like an extension of the riffs themselves. It also helps that Devlin is an undeniably talented vocalist and consistently finds interesting places to go with his melodies—an impressive feat given the sheer length of the album—with a combination of soulful Chris Baretto meets Rody Walker-esque cleans and Tommy Rogers-like harshes. The mixing, or lack thereof, means that the vocals tend to pop up too loudly, and the bass and leads get buried and muddied every so often under the layers of rhythm guitars and synthesizers. The lack of production finish also exposes some of the rough spots in the vocals, like the audible strain to hit some of the high notes on “Self-Destruct” and the song’s rather cheesy choir section sticking out of the mix like a sore thumb. None of this is should be surprising.

But these quibbles aside, New Wilderness finds Corelia largely fulfilling the promise of their debut EP—in theory if not in practice—and is ample demonstration of what made them one of the most hyped prog bands of the 2010’s. The band repeatedly swing for the fences and still end up with an almost absurdly high batting average. That makes it all the more sad that they crumbled under the weight of expectations and their own ambition. It might be too little too late, but if they still hope to make up for lost time they have to start somewhere, and this might be it.

[1] I’m not going to go into it here, but if you don't know about the whole saga, definitely look it up.

[2] The band has uploaded the LANDR version to SoundCloud so I guess this now the "official" version: https://soundcloud.com/coreliaofficial/sets/new-wilderness




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Comments:Add a Comment 
SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2020


11986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Discuss.

Comatorium.
May 12th 2020


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Discuss the fact that this band ran off with 30k, gave their last update when Obama was president, and have now released an unfinished mess of an “album” of demos that sound like they were written in 2012?



Ain’t much to discuss. They should’ve stayed dead. This is a bigger slap in the face than just taking the money and running.



And all y’all (check out the corelias fb page) who are raving about how good it is and you’re so happy it’s finally here... have some self respect, Jesus.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2020


11986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did you contribute to the crowdfunding Comatorium?

Comatorium.
May 12th 2020


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I did

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2020


11986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What was your contribution?

BreakfastCat
May 12th 2020


125 Comments


30k

Comatorium.
May 12th 2020


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I contributed $25.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2020


11986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That sucks and I'm sorry. I haven't heard from too many people who actually contributed to the crowdfunding so it's good to hear from someone who actually has reason to be ticked off.

FWIW I don't know if you've listened to the whole album, but it's pretty good. Maybe not $25 good, but hey, at least it's pretty clear that the whole thing wasn't a ruse invented only to rip you off.

Dmax28
May 12th 2020


816 Comments


So they couldn't have finished the mixing of the album because their guitarist ran off with the stem files? Is that it? Because they have the album, why not just make it sound better with good mixing now?

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2020


11986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"So they couldn't have finished the mixing of the album because their guitarist ran off with the stem files?"

Don't know if it's the guitarist, but that's the gist of it.

bloc
May 12th 2020


61780 Comments


Holy fuck

Digging: Fluke - Puppy

Comatorium.
May 12th 2020


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

To be honest I don’t care how good it is at this point... cause I just don’t care about Corelia anymore. I’m less mad these days than just shaking my head that they thought this was an acceptable thing to put out. I’ve gotten a lot of drama and entertainment out of $25 so I guess it wasn’t all a waste.



tl;dr: sounds like poo, and there’s so many bands who have done this sound better in the 9 years since their debut EP.

BenCee
May 12th 2020


36 Comments


I've looked into this band every year or so since their EP came out, slightly curious to see if they were ever going to release this. Imagine how surprised I am to be listening to it after randomly opening up Sputnik this afternoon. Don't have much to say about the drama since I didn't contribute and didn't like their EP enough to really care, but this is a pretty damn good prog rock/metal album (so far, I'm about halfway through). The mix (or lack thereof) is a bit of a boner-shrinker but I've heard worse albums that got the full treatment. Not a huge fan of most of the orchestral elements though.

MiloRuggles
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2020


686 Comments


I've got 30k worth of entertainment out of this without even listening to it

BookoftheFallen
May 13th 2020


254 Comments


I contributed $30 to them. They can be dishonest people and still make a good album.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2020


11986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

True dat.

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2020


9803 Comments


This is really good

Digging: Nuvolascura - As We Suffer From Memory and Imagination

HoopyFrood
May 13th 2020


251 Comments


hot damn this finally dropped? we must really be living in the end times.

monocaust
May 13th 2020


13 Comments


I can't believe this is actually out

Beardog
May 13th 2020


3585 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

This sounds better than the debut EP production wise lol. I would want to fully check this but honestly fuck this band. They didn't even try to communicate a thing it seems.



EDIT:



Okay they actually put a pretty genuine post on FB, will check this fully. They still failed miserably in the communication department, especially since they crowdfunded 30k. curious to see what they will further do with this situation. Especially the fact they only released this because of a troll doesn't makes the situation very weird



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