Corrosion Of Hearts
Review by TheOneNeverSeen on April 10, 2023.
I anticipated this album since its single, 'Sullen' was released back in the end of January, not only because it was the first new material released by the band since 2009, but also because the song was excellent and conveyed the feeling of melancholy perfectly. While I’m not a huge fan of Austere and deem most of their releases merely fine, some of their songs (like 'Unending Night', 'This Dreadful Emptiness' and 'To Fade With The Dusk') most certainly are eternal anthems of DSBM and so, after hearing the brilliant 'Sullen' which instantly became my favorite song by the band after the ones listed above, I was very excited for Corrosion Of Hearts. And, thankfully, my expectations for some high-quality pain and suffering were met.
The first track, the aforementioned 'Sullen' feels sullen indeed. The sound is significantly rawer and colder than on To Lay Like Old Ashes (in fact, the production is very different from any previous Austere release, making the song heavier than anything the band wrote before). The main riff and the mood it creates is, I would say, most similar to Woods Of Desolation’s "Torn Beyond Reason" (if not counting Austere’s older material, of course). As for the vocals, they show a lot of creativity as always, varying from the lower-pitched shrieks nearly becoming growls at the beginning of the song to the higher-pitched screaming in its middle and melodic singing at its end, showing a big range just like on one of the best DSBM songs vocal-wise, 'This Dreadful Emptiness'.
The rest of the album is written in roughly the same fashion. You can definitely tell it’s Austere, for the songwriting is mostly the same as that of To Lay Like Old Ashes and riffs like the main one of the album’s second best song with a cool title 'A Ravenous Oblivion' could’ve also been a part of the band’s sophomore album. The keyboards blend excellently with the overall sound as always and the riffs are consistently desperate ('Pale' being especially good in that sense). The major differences, aside from the aforementioned shift in production, would be bass being more audible and the focus moving away from higher-pitched screams to lower-pitched shrieks (although the former are still there, most notably at 11:32 of 'A Ravenous Oblivion'). I think this is a good experiment to make considering it does not harm the album’s atmosphere while at the same time helping it stand out from the rest of Desolate and Sorrow’s discography. The only con of the album for me is the fact that, due to the largely different production, the vocals sound a bit deafened and aren’t mixed with the overall music as well as they were before. However, the problem is not too significant, and, in a way, I even like the new sound more, due to it being much darker and more emotional.
So, Corrosion Of Hearts is a very good DSBM album as well as an excellent release in terms of Austere’s discography that will be enjoyable for both newcomers and longtime fans. While possessing all the beloved elements of their music, it presents them in a new way, creating an atmosphere that is bleaker, more intense and overwhelming than ever before.
Rating: 9 out of 101.49k