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CORNIGR: "Relics of Inner War" - 70%

skaven, January 10th, 2013

With the release of Cornigr’s debut, Relics of Inner War, Saturnian Productions continues its path on unleashing quality Finnish black metal record after record. Cornigr does not dwell in such cult popularity as some other bands on the label’s roster with Cosmic Church and Charnel Winds coming to mind first, but that is undoubtedly because of Cornigr’s lack of output: there is only one obscure demo dating back to 2003. So with the appearance of Relics of Inner War, here’s to hoping that the band reaches its potential listeners eventually.

The most suitable words to describe Relics of Inner War would be fiery and poisonous. The first thing to spot right at the beginning is the cavernous overall sound: the music is hazy, drums being relatively distant (mostly cymbals rising to proper distinction from the mess of sound) on which the guitars - the most important part of the album - reside, delivering riffs that at times are pure hellish war (like the almost Von-esque simplicity on ”Baptism Below” that later turns into Burzum-ish high-end tremolo work like on ”Jesus' Tod”) and at times the soundscapes are filled with twisted, discordant, and oppressive chords (like on the haunting ”Jaws of Time” that also features a prominent bass guitar pattern). Usually it’s the mix of both, and herein lies the true beauty of Relics of Inner War: it is not afraid to retain to the uncompromising spirit of underground black metal, but it still manages to sound enough original.

There’s a ton of strength in the execution of the instruments here. It’s powerful and harsh as hell all the way through, and this applies also to the masculine vocal delivery filled with anger and devotion, all audible in these mid-range growls proclaiming evocative and Satanic lyrics. If the majority of the label’s roster concentrates on a more sophisticated, philosophical approach at lyrics, Relics of Inner War is more pure fierceness. That doesn’t mean, though, that Cornigr’s writing is any more worse at all, as it’s a pleasure to read the lyrics of e.g. ”Shroud of Satan” that reveres the principle of inner Satan (” underneath the shroud, eyes inside out / the ghost, the reflection, the shadow self”), similarly continued on ”Brand Carrier’s Canticle”, which is more like an ode for the potential of darkness within man and the abandonment of maya (”destroy the illusory chains!”).

Without further delving into lyrics solely, it must be said that followers of the Finnish ’scene’ should not miss Relics of Inner War, even if it isn’t a hundred percent perfect. There are riffs that are evidently more generic than some others, hence not all the songs stand out during every second and I’m not much digging the really minimal artwork, and the little of what there is is so dark that you can’t easily decipher it. The bare layout is most likely intentional, the frames of the cover evoking a feeling of an old occult book keeping secrets within, but I wouldn’t have minded witnessing some more artwork inside the j-card. I could also complain about the soft polycase that the album comes in, but these are, of course, just minor things and basically nothing when ears (and mind) are kept at the actual content that rules.

3.5 / 5
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