Author: Gay For Gary Oldman
Label: Massacre Records
Unsure of what record I would next dedicate the time to review, I turned to a reliable weekly list of new releases to see what genres were on offer. I passed over a doom/sludge record, a few brutal death and a speed/punk until my eyes caught upon the label ‘electronic death metal’. I felt my tongue grow uneasy in my mouth. I swallowed hard, but my throat was dry. My pupils constricted and my neck pulled backwards. Such is the reaction many of us have to Morbid Angel’s ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’. However, curiosity overwhelmed me and I followed the heresy-crumb trail to Coraxo’s official webpage, which featured glowing reviews from sources I couldn’t rate less.
The Finnish band attribute science fiction from the 50’s through to the 70’s as a major thematic inspiration for the music, and my judgement somewhat softened. But it was not enough to completely wipe the slate clean of prior held expectations. Combining heavy music with electronic influences has always been a difficult task, although there are some examples I appreciate. Sometimes the electronic influence is little more than the occasional sampling or short ambient interlude, as is the case with much of Anaal Nathrakh’s discography. Australia’s The Amenta expanded on this form in their record V01D, which had entire ambient electronic/noise sections which crafted an immersive sonic wasteland. Typically industrial metal bands such as Godflesh must either simplify their metal music to accommodate the electronic influences, or else push the electronic influence into noise and ambient in order to integrate it.
Although not a metal band, Enter Shikari are one of the few bands I’ve heard to successfully integrate electronic forms into their post-hardcore, trading off between the two with enough overlap that each begins to resemble the other. However, the only other bands in this school of thought appear to be gimmick djent/dubstep bands such as Behindert. Which is great if you like that kind of music, but it will leave most metal heads cold.
Which brings us to Coraxo. To which group do these ambitious Finns belong? After repeated listens, I would place them closer to Anaal Nathrakh’s camp in terms of electronic application, but that is where the comparisons end. Coraxo employ a type of almost-melodic death metal seen in recent releases by Kataklysm, where faster Gothenberg riffing and melodic chord structures in choruses give the songs an overtly accessible veneer, without ever easing up on the relentless vocals and rhythm to ever truly be considered ‘melodeth’.
Video-released track Symbiosis, linked below, is perhaps not the best example, as it sits even closer to their melodic influences, akin to Dark Tranquility, and the electronic influences are barely audible outside of the short introduction to the track.
Opening track Lanterns is perhaps a better example, with the dark electro synth layers present at the beginning of the track remaining throughout much of the following verse, clearly present over the rest of the music, occasionally ensnaring the vocals and dragging them into Matrix-like distortion.
Ultimately, there is little here to outright complain about, but nobody would be talking about this band were it not for the electronic influences. It is perfectly mediocre, middle-of-the-road semi-melodic death metal, but with a few more interesting sounds thrown in for good measure.
- Gay for Gary Oldman
Check them out here: http://coraxo-official.com/