Coraxo - Sol
Snow Wave Records
Melodic death metal with synth
11 songs (42' 15")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Andy

With an increasing number of people becoming nostalgic over retro synth music (check Bandcamp if you don't believe me), Coraxo is a band that has embraced it, but in an even more retro way, with more of a 70s sci-fi vibe to the synth work than the much more prevalent 80s sound. Belying the very Baroness-esque cover, Sol cuts back this time on the avant-garde tendencies of its predecessor to be a more Soilwork-ish melodeath album without the clean vocals, but still with the spacy synth as a primary element.

The melodeath riffing is actually the most ordinary part of it, mostly because sci-fi melodeath has been done by others with greater quality. What makes it interesting is the synth, which, initially only accenting the guitar riffs, starts to show up more and more as the album gets underway, occasionally being paired with sax in true 70s space rock fashion. Aiding the band is a number of guest musicians, few of whom I had ever heard of, but one of which appears on a track that they hit out of the park: Revenants, a synth-dominated duet between band leader Tomi Toivonen's harsh vocals and those of Elena Cor Tauri.

In fact, most of the guest-artist tracks are a cut above what the duo can produce on their own; Sunlight temporarily doubles the size of the group for a multi-layered guitar backed by a twisting synth line, underlined by a relaxed beat. By comparison, the mid-tempo melodeath of Sacrifices Made sounds like it's going to be a dud on the verse line and only comes into its own when the chorus hits, finally letting the guitar work, synth, and vocals meld as a whole. The band seems to be trying to tone down the wilder aspects of their sound -- when Neptune came out, a significant number of reviewers heard "sci fi" and "death metal" and evaluated them as a Hypocrisy clone -- but it seems like they still have yet to hit upon something that is more than a curiosity. Their old-fashioned synth and melodic death metal is interesting, but none of the songs are seriously gripping riff-wise, making the melodeath part suffer accordingly.

Sol is an incremental upgrade to Neptune, a decent record with some hits and misses with the most interesting part being the synth more than the uninspiring guitar work. Fans of the band's past work will like it, as it doesn't depart greatly from what Corax did before, and although the riffing isn't always amazing, some of the songs stand out from the rest.


Killing Songs :
Andy quoted 75 / 100
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