Interestingly this debut release from Swiss instrumental post metallers Corbeaux has been mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna) and that name drop gives you an inkling of where this band resides musically. It’d be unfair to say that the band covets what Cult Of Luna has sown for many years as the debut offers dynamic song writing unafraid to test the ears and experiences of anyone who likes the instrumental metal genre, like I do.
Introducing the album gently is “Cran d’Arret” a serenely played piece of music initially the foundations are laid for the drums to enter the mix and noticeably they are particularly dominant on the album, toing and froing in waves of percussive creativity they really make the album stand out. Subtly the bass work underpins each tune like the chassis of a vehicle, pulsing rhythmically throughout. The opening tune has an industrial clamour to it, a metronomic assault that repeats itself but relents occasionally to allow the dulcet guitar work to pierce the mind. The heaviness of the album is like Pelican in places but also possesses the subtleties of The Shaking Sensations due to the rather sublime stick work deployed as the opener blends seamlessly into the next track “La Bagarre”. A shorter tune the bolstered heaviness is very reminiscent of The Ocean or Maybeshewill but in fairness to Corbeaux my references to other bands are really just that, as these musicians offer complexity but retain a fresh listening quality many instrumental outfits fail to produce due to overly complicating their songs.
“7th Avenue” stands as a favourite for me, starting very gently with keyboards the guitar work flutters into the song very delicately and feels almost blues like. Ethereal in approach the song builds with unyielding anticipation as layers of guitar work are built on one another like an artist constructing a sonic landscape. The bass lolls furtively within the guitar work virtually unnoticed as the auditory canvas is coated with sheets of fluidised musicianship. That fluidity enables the songs to bind to each other which occurs when this tune flows into “Sur Un Fil” as the bass really does pulse in this song along with the drums like a heartbeat within the song beating metrically whilst the guitar inflections are dabbed into the song like brushstrokes.
Albums like this are to be absorbed, allowing the music and its various nuances to capture the mind and ear as each listen reveals those gradations. You can really hear something different each time you play it as each nuance engrosses before moving to the next and none more so than the penultimate tune “Where Is Dave?”. Closing the album in fine fashion is “Ezimpurkor”, an epic cerebral narcosis where the guitar work draws in the listener before teasingly dropping into exquisite changes. The abrupt drop in heaviness after a couple of minutes to a more tranquil piece is excellent, allowing the song to gradually build again with the drums taking centre stage. With troughs and crests saturating the track the drops into semi acoustic passages are very pleasant, tearful and captivating.
A thoroughly mesmerising collection of songs Corbeaux is darkly entertaining, mournful yet possessing a capacity to send waves of serotonin like sweetness to the listener. An excellent debut indeed.
(8/10 Martin Harris)