Corpus Christi - Palemoon

Corpus Christii caught my eye when perusing the March 2015 release list via bandcamp.  The 3 tracks available on their page seemed destined to satisfy my need for the occasional black metal that one needn’t think about; only smile while burning in its flame.  I was unfamiliar with the group, so seeing that their release history goes back to the late 90’s was a surprise.  Apparently they have been turning out some of the more relevant BM from Portugal nearly since the genre’s inception.  While listens to their earlier works left me questioning what the album might bring, Palemoon tore the flesh from my bones for doubting even for a second.
I really don’t care how “kvlt” my BM is, but in Corpus Christii’s case, it certainly doesn’t hurt.  Aside from the slightly beefed up production, Palemoon could have easily been released alongside heavyweights Darkthrone and Mayhem.  Openers “Far Beyond the Light” and ripping “Under Beastcraft” sport epic, dark melodies with head-banging blast and d-beats, while more stripped down tracks like “Eternal Bliss” and “Last Eclipse” are more reminiscent of Under a Funeral Moon.  But don’t get too comfortable with those bleak, pendulous tremolos either; they are known to erupt into bursts of black n’ roll fury akin to Satyricon’s later outings or IXXI’s Assorted Armament.
I’ll admit that one of the things I wasn’t exactly fond of when browsing Corpus Christii’s prior catalog was some of the choices regarding vocal delivery.  Fortunately that was not a problem this time around.  In fact, these are some of the most vicious, chaotic, and dramatic screams of agony you may hear this year (aside from maybe Leviathan).  This is not the over-rehearsed melodrama of Carach Angren.  Rather, Nocturnus channels everything from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas to Nemesis Divina.  Performances feel improvised, creating a magnificent live effect.  While I have applauded a handful of BM vocalists recently for their rare level conviction, few have reached the rawness that is on display with Palemoon.
All of the other instruments showcase an equal level of energy.  The production of this album, while gritty, is still notably more modern in the level of bass and fullness of sound.  Fortunately this allows the drums to crush skulls twice as hard while the rumbly bass guitar mocks the fallen.  Meanwhile the one-two treble punch of the relentless guitars and snare hits grind the remainder ash.  This isn’t some Cradle of Filth gothic romance…this is war.
Final word: here aggression trumps invention.  While nothing on Palemoon will strike the veteran listener as original, Nocturnus does the old sound faster, harder, and better than anyone I have heard in some time.  As Immortal disbands, Darkthrone goes crust punk, and Enslaved explores new progressive territories; Corpus Christii is here to carry on the spirit of early second wave.  No compromises.

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