COR SCORPII – Monument

COR SCORPII - Monument


Descent Productions
Release date: March 26, 2008

User Review
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From Sogndal, Norway (and with that the credibility factor is secured …) comes Cor Scorpii, featuring former members of such acclaimed bands as Ulcus and Windir. Stylewise mainman Gaute Refsnes and his companions follows a path not unlike that of just Windir, with long, epic song structures, Folk-inspired guitar melodies, shrieking vocals, and a constant wall of double bass kicks. Not a bad recipe at all, but not overly original either – thus making the songwriter’s task (even) harder, having to come up with fresh sounding, quality material in an already crowded field.

Luckily, main songwriter Refsnes is a man who appreciates a good challenge, and Monument has become a truly well-crafted piece of work. In addition to Refsnes, who handles keyboard duties, Cor Scorpii sports five more Norsemen in their ranks – guitarists Stian Bakketeig and Rune Sjøthun, bassist Inge Jonny Lomheim, singer Thomas S. Øvstedal, and batterist Ole “Vargon” Nordsve. The band sound tight, and possess a musicality not every Black Metal band can brag about. Bakketeig’s ever-present lead lines gives the music a melodic and tasteful edge (check out the solo part in “Kjettar”!), while Refsnes’ huge pallets of synthesizer magic (especially in songs like “Helvetesfossen,” “Oske og Innsikt,” and “Bragder I Stein”) makes the album sound just as huge as (probably) intended.

Børge Finstad’s production also adds to this picture; being crisp and clear, but still nowhere near sterile, it suits the music to perfection. For those familiar with Finstad’s previous escapades Monument is not as crisp as Mayhem’s Chimera, while sounding far more powerful than Borknagar’s Epic.

“Helvetesfossen,” “Oske og Innsikt,” and “Bragder I Stein” have already been mentioned, and these three, together with “I, The Damned,” and “Our Fate, Our Curse” make for the stand-out tracks on the album. The observant reader would probably notice that the opening track is not among the strongest, an unusual – and, from a commercial perspective, not overly fortunate twist. Silent Vanquish’ singer Mats Lerberg lays down some killer clean vocal lines on “Our Fate …” and “Oske …” and together with Refsnes fantastic keyboard work in the outro to “Helvetesfossen,” and the aforementioned guitar leads in “Kjettar,” these are the small, but oh so crucial touches that make this album stand out amongst the many. Monument is a must-have for fans of Melodic, Atmospheric, and Epic Black Metal.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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