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Old Corpse Road – Of Campfires And Evening Mists album review

Black metallers Old Corpse Road channel the dark heart of English folklore

Old Corpse Road album cover

Although the title sounds like a scented candle, this second full-length by Darlington’s black metal mythologists is one of the UK underground’s most keenly awaited releases.

Four years have passed since OCR’s debut hoisted them to the upper echelons of ‘English Heritage black metal’, that amusingly named microgenre that’s re-energised homegrown extreme music.

With four band members getting a vocal credit, there’s certainly a multitude of voices, but the portentous oratories, death grunts and strangled rasps work together without sounding multi-tracked to exhaustion. Ripping guitars against a heavy-laden backdrop of spooky synths have a time-honoured inevitability, but the album’s trump card is its organic structural ebb and flow, with quiet pastoral glades and tumultuous surges emphasising the narrative thrust within 10-minute epics like Herne Of Windsor Forest and Peg Powler, reframing Old English folk tales in thrilling black metallic form.