He ... Who Suffers Knowledge
Review by Fran on June 6, 2023.
I've never been an avid fan of this band, to be honest. Its historical significance within the Costa Rican scene, however; is undeniable. Founded in 2005, they've been around for a pretty long time now and everyone has seen their live shows at least once. The blood, the spikes, the spitting fire gimmick, and the impaled pork head caused quite an impression back then. Their first demo - Underworld Inquisition, 2006- contained the staple songs of the band until they reformed in 2020 with this new lineup and fresh ideas but in the beginning, Corpus Necromanthum's proposal consisted of straightforward old-school death metal. Not very technical or detailed, simple song structures, you know the drill.
On He ... Who Suffers Knowledge, we have witnessed the band reaching a maturity peak in terms of composition and production; the results are impressive. The sheer brutality of death metal is still there but much better executed. The cleanliness of the blast beats and the breaks is insane, it reminds me a lot of Inferno's work on "Demigod". The double bass drum is world class and alongside the brutality, the cymbal work is super refined as well and perfectly accompanies the epic feel of the open chord sections. There are some ethnic percussive arrangements here and there that make me think of Nile too, with synths mimicking wind instruments and mid-eastern scales.
The bass guitar is not very present in the mix but serves as a mattress for the rest of the harmonic section and anchors the guitars with the drums just fine. That ethnic/epic feel and the inclusion of more black metal influence on the riffing are the main differences between this record and the material from the band's early days. Take for example 'Corpus Tactus' which was one of the singles by the way, the melodic black metal part is something we've never heard from these guys before. Showing some influence from modern bands like Mgla or Gaerea on the main theme, the song works as a watershed to refresh the ears after the relentless intensity of the first half of the album; which is 54 minutes long. The vocal performance by Ariel (Urah) is outstanding in this piece; as opposed to the deep gutturals he uses on the rest of the tracks, there's this unearthly high-pitched shriek with a lunatic twist that shows how versatile and capable he is.
The guitarist is using 7 strings, adding depth to the melodies and a whole new dimension to the songwriting in general. In some parts, it evokes the orchestral side of Krzysztof's Batushka. Other riffs include arpeggios or bright chords in the middle of the palm-muted rhythmic figures on the lower strings, think of Dissection in terms of technique but with a darker sense of melody and a damper production. There are no solos or harmonic leads on the whole record, the instrumental parts rely only on good riffing, the perfect amount of repetition without being monotone and smart bridges. I'm more than proud of the development the Costa Rican extreme scene has achieved in the last 15 years, this is one of those examples. Cheers!
Rating: 9.3 out of 10593