"Earth Diver"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Third album in from these eclectic California metalheads and they still have to release it themselves. What's up with the so-called major metal labels? Why can't they sign a band as talented as this? Or maybe Cormorant likes going it alone? That way, maybe they can play what they want without having to worry about small-minded meddling. Hmmmm...

On "Earth Diver", the black metal influences are stronger than ever in Cormorant's music. But of course, Cormorant being Cormorant, don't think to hear that sound alone. Over the course of the 8 sprawling tunes here, you'll hear traces of grinding doom, straight up traditional metal, meandering post-metal doodling and eventually, a mammoth expanse of noisy feedback and sampling. The key to success here is the careful structuring of the songs so a riff never really outstays its welcome or one particular style dominates. These tunes are very craftily designed, blasting when blasting is needed, soothing when a bit of peace is required. Many examples of strong songcraft are here...."Waking Sleep" is a good demonstration of both harsh and epic riffing, with vocals ranging from raven croak to indie pop melody. I'm reminded a bit of an Americanized Enslaved when listening to Cormorant and while I would not put them at the level of the Norwegians, that's nothing to be ashamed of, because really no band equals their brilliance.

"Broken Circle" is a real archetypcal Cormorant song. It takes a while to build from a moody and low-key opening to a rush of Wolves In The Throne Room type majestic speed riffing. Lots of great changes here, including doomier moments and a fantastic bit of "call and respond" vocal catchiness. "Mark The Trail" continues the epic feel and even has some twin guitar moments that remind me of "Slough Feg".
Last track "A Sovereign Act' is a bit too long for its own good and ends with a lengthy stretch of noisiness that will test patience. But its all part of the eclectic vision of Cormorant.

This is heavy metal for restless intellectuals bored with phony hipsterism and eager to hear well played extreme metal compositions.