The Bitter End Of Old
Review by Fernando on May 3, 2022.
While Portugal is a country not many people associate with black metal at first glance, it is a very prominent wellspring of black metal and Corpus Christii are one of the longest standing names of the Portuguese black metal scene. In 2022 they will unleash their ninth full length named The Bitter End Of Old, through Immortal Frost Productions.
Corpus Christii is, as mentioned, one of the long-standing black metal bands from Portugal, starting in 1998 and having a very prolific and active career. In the present they have their own style locked, which is on the melodic and orthodox brand of black metal people often associate with Sweden and modern German black metal bands. On this new record, Corpus Christii does mark some of the checkboxes, a high quality production, dynamic song structures that balance speed, groove and atmosphere, very melodic and somewhat progressive riffs and hooks, and vocals that are appropriately ghoulish with occasional bellowing. On those qualities alone, Corpus Christii do have a lot of strengths, albeit with not much innovation, since, as I’ve mentioned, this brand of black metal is the norm for many other bands and scenes, but that’s not to say Corpus Christii are devoid of an identity, as this album is a continuation of their ongoing journey, as this is the style they honed in long before scenes and bands started leaning into this particular style.
The biggest strength Corpus Christii has is of course the skills of the band’s founder Nocturnus Horrendus alongside member J. Goat. The duo since 2015 have been carefully refining their chemistry and on this album, I’d say they’ve achieved unity, in fact, one wouldn’t be able to tell the album was made by only two people, even with the excellent production. Nocturnus Horrendus and J. Goat have a unique skill of managing to make their music sound and feel somber but also vast and engrossing while at the same time, keeping you engaged from beginning to end, and also do it in a very tight package. At under 40 minutes the record is very well paced and engaging and it never feels stretched. While I can criticize how this style of black metal has been already proliferated by many bands in the past decade or so, not many of those artists have the skill Corpus Christii do, that is to be engaging and substantial without overstaying their welcome, so all in all the band continue to prove their long standing bearing as a major force of Portuguese black metal.
Overall, Corpus Christii continue to deliver their brand of wicked and epic black metal, and remain stalwart in their dedication to black metal and the darker side of mankind. It may be a tried and true path, but it's still a worthy path to embark.
Best tracks: 'The Predominance', 'Fragmented Chaos Disharmony', 'For I Am All', 'Heinous'
Rating: 7.9 out of 10136