The title of this album may be one of the most perfect descriptions of the music you find within. Metazoa is the name for any multi-cellular creature in the animal kingdom. This beast of a disc is made up of so many different musical cells that the total package is an overwhelming display of musical prowess which takes all the best from death metal, folk, jazz and even a bit of NWOBHM and combines it into one of the best releases I have heard lately. Too bad I received it late as it would have been one of my top choices for the year 2009.
The first thing you hear when this disc starts is a little guitar that takes you back to The Rolling Stones and their classic "Paint It Black". This is just the calm before the storm as Cormorant explodes with a metal vengeance and Arthur Von Nagel unleashes his primordial vocal scream to really welcome you into their world with a taste of what you are going to hear and feel for the remainder of the album. "Scavenger Feast" is a tour de force by any standards where they show how to meld the many genres of metal into their own special alloy! This tune will thrill those who love melodic death metal, old style heavy metal and with a breakdown right out of the 80's prog metal scene, it will remind you of all the good things from the musical history of rock and roll along with the vision of a band that dares to look back while taking a giant leap forward.
Next they give you a little bit of a Black Sabbath type intro before Arthur gives you what is commonly called Cookie Monster vocals. I think he sounds a little more like Oscar the Grouch myself but who is to quibble when you have this type of searing metal to enjoy. This time around they give you that old style intro that morphs into something that sounds like it has its roots in the Viking metal bands of Scandinavia. They tackle this genre with ease as these Californians put on their European headbanging attire and turn this song that seems to be about the French Revolution into an international event!
From there they take off into a Pink Floyd type sound with the beginning of "Salt Of The Earth" before once again removing the epidermis with a face melting metal blast! These guys are just a treat as their eclectic musical backgrounds combine to make this whole disc a virtual greatest hits from so many different classes of music.
When you get to "Blood On The Cornfields" the NWOBHM influences combined with the death metal style vocals will remind you of the German band Crematory. Very melodic and anthem like it is destined to be a concert favorite.
Then comes the centerpiece of the disc, "Hanging Gardens" with its jazzy intro and sedate orchestration behind it almost lulls you into a false sense of security before the hammer falls. This work is really amazing as it retains its simple melodic nature while still managing to rip the air from your lungs at the same time. Few bands can maintain this level of melody and harshness at the same time, especially over the period of eleven minutes! While it sweeps from sweet and innocent to brutal this is a song that conveys the nature of Cormorant as well as any on the album.
With "The Crossing" the band gives you a brief tour through the Iron Maiden musical styling before delving into the dark world of true melodic death metal with "Hole In The Sea". Turning the tables once again they take you on a little bit of a psychedelic journey at the start of "The Emigrant's Wake" before cranking it up to max metal once again. Taking another sharp angle turn, they then proceed to let Anthony give a clean singing performance and even a spoken word verse on the powerful and engrossing song "Sky Burial". All this comes to a close with a truly grand instrumental piece that is nothing short of captivating as guitarist Nick Cohon and Matt Solis use acoustic and clean electric guitar in a folksy piece that is most definitely the cool down period after they have scorched you with the afterburners.
Not many albums can you enjoy from start to finish with as much pleasure as this one. The musical abilities on display are top notch and nothing short of fabulous. Lyrically they tap into some very heady subjects but also go into some areas where it might take a Jim Morrison to decipher. This is one that has become a very welcome addition to the collection. I keep returning to it time and time again while saying to myself…It just cannot be that good! Well it is delicious…no make that metalicious!
1. Scavengers Feast
2. Uneasy Lies The Head
3. Salt Of The Earth
4. Blood On The Cornfields
5. Hanging Gardens
6. The Crossing
7. Hole In The Sea
8. The Emigrant's Wake
9. Sky Burial
10. Voices Of The Mountain