Cormorant releasing ‘Diaspora’ (stream “The Devourer”)
words by Andrew Rothmund
Bands seeking to do it all risk doing too much. The dangers: overloading tracks with a mishmash of unfinished ideas (versus nailing one solid idea), exerting obvious over-effort, and writing incohesive musical storylines. It’s not impossible, though, as long as band’s storytelling abilities outshine blunt musicianship and emotional intensity breathes freely -- and consistently -- through the sheer variety. Cue California-based band Cormorant, whose upcoming fourth full-length Diaspora builds intricate bridges connecting black metal, death metal, doom, and post-metal, with progressive twists. Check out an exclusive stream of the album’s penultimate (and shortest) track "The Devourer" below.
"The Devourer" features Cormorant at their darkest, even considering the weightiest moments of their well-received preceding album Earth Diver (2014). Hammering on a comfortably familiar riff to start, the track patiently evolves across an unpredictable structure rife with moody vocals (both screams and clean), sudden shifts, and technical asides. As with each track, the beginning sounds nothing like the conclusion, but they’re ultimately connected. Midpointing "The Devourer" are thrashy passages and clean-sung melodies, plus a surreal guitar solo as a bonus. The song feels trackable and linear, but non-repetitive and spontaneous, multifaceted and densely packaged.
Compared to the album’s opener "Preserved In Ash" (streaming here), "The Devourer" takes a subtler approach. While the former exemplifies Cormorant as a resolutely fist-raising band (spanning from blackened blasts to doomy punches), the latter sees them exploring a rounder sound in creating moody headspaces for closed-eye listening. Meanwhile, the two remaining tracks "Sentinel" and "Migration" (16 and 26 minutes long respectively) are decisively Homeric in scope and stand strongly both alone and in series. Luckily, Cormorant subdues the unsatisfying labor in "decoding" their music by stretching emotional themes across tracks and offering plenty of catchy hooks as reference points.
Diaspora bulges with material from across the board but isn’t bloated. Considering the track’s relative brevity, "The Devourer" serves to break up the endeavor of devouring Diaspora as a whole. The album (and track) feels effortless in its execution, a natural output as opposed to machined creation. This rests on Cormorant’s superb transitions, be they drum- or guitar-based, lengthy or immediate. It also speaks to their core nature: a purely rockable metal band featuring dramatic climaxes and introspective interludes. The joy in meticulously analyzing Diaspora equals the joy in just letting it absorb you -- it’s an album for both listening and hearing.
Preorder Diaspora here.
From the band:
"The Devourer" is the shortest song on the record, but it probably has the highest concentration of riffs and musical expressions, with lots of twists and turns that are reflected in the narrative. Tying into the overarching themes of migration and human arrogance, this song tells a story about defying the passage of the soul. Marcus wrote the lyrics based on the Egyptian mythology of Ammit, a funerary deity who consumes the impure in the afterlife. In an attempt to outsmart his doomed fate, the protagonist endeavors to flee Ammit in the underworld in an act of defiance.
Follow Cormorant on Facebook here.