Album Review: Corpsing – Civilization Under Nefarious Tyrants

We last featured Corpsing back in 2017 in the runup to Bloodstock, and again when we interviewed them on the hallowed turf. Since then, the band have undergone a lineup change, and spent a lot of time working on their forthcoming new release Civilization Under Nefarious Tyrants. The album’s not due for release until May, partly as they’re running a Kickstarter to shift a limited run of 100 vinyl copies. Jump in if you’re interested as a good number have already been reserved!

So, what do we have in this little collection of ones and zeroes (also available on spinny black plastic)? Some lovely brutal death metal, that’s what. Skipping past the atmospheric intro that is “Void”, we’re launched headfirst into hatred with “Heart of Darkness”. This one track manages to hammer together slow, rhythmic headbanging sections with frenetic thrashier ones perfectly. The slightly disjointed feel suits the song perfectly and leaves you wanting more… which you definitely get. “House of the Common Enemy” makes use of wonderful discordant tones to really jangle your nerves while the bass and drums pound your head.

The band’s views on recent political events are hinted at in “Brexshit”, which has one of the best intros to a song I’ve heard in a long time. Let’s just say that subtlety isn’t Corpsing’s strong point, musically or when making a verbal statement! Far more relaxed is the lilting “Transcendance” (sic) which brings in what is probably the band’s first ballad. Well, comparatively speaking. It’s an instrumental number featuring clean guitar, starting off quite airy while the ending enters creepier territory and will have the hairs on the back of your neck looking over their shoulders.

“Black Ocean” brings with it images of huge waves mercilessly crashing onto your pathetic little dinghy while the vague nautical theme continues in “Across the Sea of Time”. With an epic runtime of 7-and-a-half minutes, it could be a slog but it’s not. There’s so much in this track, it’s amazing – the only thing you realise is missing are vocals. It needs a story to go along with it, some kind of animated video would be perfect. I could wallow in it time and time again.

The shouty, scary man is back for “To Thine Own Self” which is about as old-school death metal as the band get on this album, with a pace designed and destined to develop circle pits. You’ll need some stamina for the violence, though – it runs to almost 7 minutes. Album closer “Space”, though, is an odd one and I suspect it won’t be hitting the Spotify heights any time soon as it’s another atmospheric track, more sound effect than music. It works well as part of the album as a whole, though. Which, frankly, is how you should be listening to Civilization Under Nefarious Tyrants.

This is a patchwork collection, but in a good way. There are several standout tracks, each good for their own reasons, and the musicianship and production are spot on. While I don’t think there’s a theme to the album it definitely works best as one that’s played through as an album from start to finish rather than dipped into, especially with the instrumental and scene-setting pieces. Perfect for a vinyl release, in other words. Handy, that.

Civilization Under Nefarious Tyrants is out in May 2020

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