By Steve Earles
Having been involved in the underground for a long time, I’ve encountered so many bad generic bands (ironically, as the music business implodes, and we reach the stage where no new band can hope to make even an existence never mind a living from their music, we find ourselves inundated with a tsunami of truly awful bands), when I first encountered Old Corpse Road, they were a breath of fresh air, I wrote that they had ‘all the strengths of black metal and none of it’s weaknesses’, something that is so evident on their debut full-length album (following a very well-received demo and a split album with British underground legends The Meads of Asphodel).
Muiscally Old Corpse Road draw inspiration from such British legends as Sabbat, Cradle of Filth, and Skyclad, but evermore they display their own unique identity, I feel no one sounds like them and that is as it should be.
Old Corpse Road’s music leaps from fierce black metal fury to haunting melodies to razor sharp riffs to haunting folk whimsy. This is a band that love music not just metal, they follow their own unique musical muse.
Further, with songs like the title track, ‘The Crier of Claiffe’ and ‘Isobel-Queen of Scottish Witches’, OCR show themselves to have origins beyond the past four decades of heavy metal, they belong strongly to a tradition of storytelling that goes back to the first people to inhabit their land. In this they are to be praised, we live in a world where a person may have 2000 Facebook ‘friends’, and yet not one real person to count as friend (and this is progress? No, it’s a marketing ploy that Lucifer-like has deceived the whole world). We also live in a world where people (I use the term loosely) display a cruelty and contempt to other people via electronic communication that they would never have the courage to do in real life, there are real human beings at the end of the internet but that reality is rapidly being substituted by a pseudo-reality of almost imaginary communication. So OCR’s harkening back to tales being told by person to person is very true and very important.
As is OCR’s commitment to a physical tactile product you can actually hold in your hand (the music business has been destroyed by abandoning this century old tradition) is also praiseworthy. Indeed, in a stroke of genius, initial copies of the album actually came with a piece of an actual old corpse road (an old corpse road is a road from a cemetery that has become full to a newer cemetery).
The best new British band since The Meads of Asphodel, I can give no higher praise!