The UK has given us a lot of good black metal such as The Meads of Asphodel, Maelstrom, Winterfylleth, and probably most notably (atleast at one point in their career) Cradle of Filth. Now there is a worthy contender to carry the banner of UKBM’s legacy and that is Old Corpse Road. Formed in 2007 with previous full lengths, the group has returned with this year’s release of On Ghastly Shores Lays the Wreckage of Our Lore via Trollzorn Records. Personally being a big fan of 2016’s Of Campfires and Evening Mists, On Ghastly Shores Lays the Wreckage of Our Lore does not disappoint. With this release we see the group reach a level of subtlety and maturity that elevates their music to a new level of epic, gothic and folk influenced black metal.
A big plus here with this album is the layers of vocal styles at play here. There is spoken word, death growls and otherworldly screeches that match the mood that Old Corpse Road is trying to unfold as the tracks roll on. The guitar work is nothing short of rich, complex and melodic riffs that reference both black and death metal with melancholic folk worked into the mix. There are plenty of acoustic passages that further add to the folk influences, and also lend a stronger thematic unity given the lyrical history of folk tales and mythology that Old Corpse Road are known to draw upon. The keyboards range from string sections that follow the guitars to simple piano melodies and more outright synth patches. At times one could think this falls in vain of Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth but one thing Old Corpse Road does that many others have not learned is to make their sound their own. The drum work plays a huge part in this album as they add atmosphere to each track more so than just being a rhythm. Most notable is during the melodic passages, they provide a simple driving beat that do not distract from the melancholic mood.
On Ghastly Shores Lays the Wreckage of Our Lore takes on a life of it’s own. There is no way to describe how well Old Corpse Road has done at carrying the torch that Cradle of Filth once held for British black metal. There is so much underrated beauty found with this band and I personally would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of metal as this album and just Old Corpse Road in general are what I hope to see in the future of black metal.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Neil Andersen