Corvus Noctis - Tenebrarum
Demonic Records
Heavy Metal / NWOBHM
12 songs (62' 3")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Andy

After ten years of being known as Cámara Obscura, the band changed its name to the far less Google-confusing Corvus Noctis. But not much else has changed. Tenebrarum continues Corvus Noctis' unwavering commitment to a NWOBHM sound reminiscent of early Iron Maiden, and indeed of most of the speed metal tropes of the 80s: Love themes left over from hard rock bands, mixed in with vaguely Mercyful Fate-ish occult references.

The production of Corvus Noctis can be described, at best, as endearingly amateurish. Somehow the band members sound out of step with each other, and the bass-heavy rhythm guitar's buried way back in the mix. Raven Mocker's vocals, which are dialed up a few notches above the music, are a weird fit, too -- hearty clean vocals that sound like the vocals on a Latin romantic ballad. Most of the songs are undemanding, mid-tempo pieces that showcase some decent guitar soloing but don't have terribly exciting melodies. The band's sweet spot is where they can get in on something that lets them stick to a mid-tempo speed but can add detail to the stock riffs. Llévame is an example of that; sure, it might not be the catchiest tune in the world, but the tried-and-true minor key formula works, giving the song a bit of darker drama that most of the tracks don't even aspire to.

But the band completely goes off the deep end on the longer ballads. Even the short songs can wear out their welcome pretty fast, but the combination of greater length and slower pace, with little variation from the rest of the tracks, robs Hechizo and Muriendo Después de Tí of even the advantages of brevity. Nor do any of the vocals match their subjects. I'm not expecting Satanic black metal fervor on here, but if you're going to give yourself a moniker like "Raven Mocker", you should at least sound more like a fighter than a lover. The real mockery is the final track, Ritual, a song about selling one's soul to the Prince of Darkness, but played at the same mid-tempo as the ones about falling in love -- and sung more as though Mocker's girlfriend just left him than that he is about to sign in his own blood on the dotted line.

Tenebrarum tries hard, but ultimately fails to accomplish its goal of creating a listenable NWOBHM album, resulting in an album of forgettable soundalikes that are further poisoned by the love-ballad vocals. It's a pretty hard one to like.

Bandcamp: https://corvusnoctis.bandcamp.com/album/tenebrarum.

Killing Songs :
None
Andy quoted 56 / 100
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