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

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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.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.