Interesting Name for an Interesting Album…
Progressive music as a whole has come a pretty long way throughout the years, but progressive metal itself has developed just as much. Within that subsect different variations have also sprouted out, a graph of its directions looking almost like a typical metal band branch logo.
Cormorant, the Bay Area hybrid progressive black/death metal band, give essentially zero shits about where modern dark prog has found itself, particularly on their latest album. Their fifth release, Diaspora, does in a sense hold true to how they’ve contributed to contemporary prog over the last decade since their inception. More importantly, Diaspora shows that Cormorant above all else had a love for extended orchestration and nostalgic production.
Both of these elements play an important role in Diaspora. For starters, the album is technically the shortest they’ve ever written, only containing four songs. But even with only four tracks, Diaspora still runs over 60 minutes. That’s because its shortest, “The Devourer,” is near eight minutes, where the album’s closer, “Migration,” is a whopping 26:15.
Throughout these lengthy minutes, Cormorant execute some pretty complex and dynamic arrangements that bounce between black metal and death metal tendencies. It starts quickly within the first minutes of “Preserved in Ash,” where aggressive chords and a pummeling drumming make the track a much harsher way to start than with their last few albums. “Sentinel” slows things down a bit after it rhythmic introduction. Rich guitar work from Matt Solis and Nick Cohon highlight this track, along with Solis and drummer Brennan Kunkel’s vocal variety and the instrumental sections throughout this 15-minute long song.
As the shortest track on Diaspora, “The Devourer” didn’t allot for nearly as much time for auditory creative freedom as the others, but Cormorant find a way to do it well. Kunkel takes the lead on this track, where guitar riffs accent the drummer’s blend of progressive drumming styles and deathcore blast beats.
The considerable opus of the album, however, is the almost half an hour long closing track. “Migration” has a lot going on in it, not all of which individually is generally palatable, but as a whole seem to work. It starts imploring more of the folk metal tendencies they’ve used on past albums before hitting bumps of dejected doom. The song is somewhat of its own sonic jaunt, hitting acoustic plucks and gruesome guitar riffs in a true melodic metal fashion. Some interestingly breathy goth type vocals come into play, before ending on a truly brutal note.
For what it is, Diaspora is probably one of Cormorant’s best albums to date. It’s a grandiose package loaded into such a small box, if you will. Even if they’re relatively underrated in the scene, fans expect a lot out of the DIY group. Diaspora doesn’t disappoint.