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Old Corpse Road: Tis Witching Hour…As Spectres we Haunt this Kingdom

I suppose the name of the band, Old Corpse Road, and album title, 'Tis Witching Hour…As Spectres we Haunt this Kingdom, it is relatively easy to discern where this band is coming from. Symphonic black metal is the name of the game and the band does it quite well.

The band members do not go by their real names but by various pseudonyms including The Bearer (guitars, vocals), The Revenant (guitars, vocals), The Dreamer (drums, percussion), The Wanderer (bass, spoken word) and The Watcher (keyboards, vocals).

Musically, these guys are very talented and have chops galore. One of their strongest points is how seamlessly they transition between moments of brutality (of which there are many) and the more orchestral, keyboard heavy excursions the band has a penchant for. It makes for some engaging listening and some nice melodies are added as well. The choirs are also pretty cool and add to the drama.

The one problem I have with Old Corpse Road are the vocals. The growls and spoken words are actually done quite well but the half screaming/half growling vocals are a little grating although they do add a definite demonic quality. Of course, this is purely subjective and if you like that sort of thing by all means dig in.

Some of my favourite moments include the dramatic title track which has moments that are both quite beautiful and brutal; the transitioning between vicious riffs and sublime orchestrations in "The Cauld Lad Of Hylton"; the sublime acoustic guitar arpeggios in the short "The Buried Moon" and the pretty acoustic guitar and keys in "Hag Of The Mist". Many of the songs feature spoken word that helps to propel the story (after all, this is a concept album of sorts) along. There are also some interesting chord progressions in the multi-part "The Crier Of Claiffe", which is at times brutally heavy.

So there you have it. A pretty decent black/orchestral metal album that could have been elevated to a higher place if not for some of the vocals which I found to be slightly overbearing, although I will give the band credit for adding a fair amount of variety as most of the band sings and the choirs really work well. That said, I would have loved to hear some clean lead vocals mixed in to further differentiate the growls. Still, Tis Witching Hour gets a solid 3.5 stars.

Track Listing:
1. 'Tis Witching Hour
2. The Cauld Lad of Hylton
3. Hag of the Mist
4. The Buried Moon
5. The Crier of Claiffe
i. The Wild Voice Came
ii. The Crier of Claiffe
iii. The Secret of the Rolling Waves
6. Isobel – Queen of Scottish Witches
7. Glassensikes at Witching Hour
8. As Spectres we Haunt this Kingdom

Added: April 22nd 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2217
Language: english

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