Reviews – The Echoes of Tales Once Told

anuary 2011 – Sonic Abuse

 My first encounter with Old Corpse Road occurred by chance when I wondered into the New Blood tent at Bloodstock to escape the Sun and irritating warbling of Leaves’ Eyes and found myself assaulted by a barrage of blackened riffing, tormented screams and furious kick drums all bizarrely overlaid with the cheesy organ of a hammer Horror movie featuring busty maidens and over-the-top gore – what wasn’t to like? It seemed essential to track down this band and here we have two releases to dissect, the first dating back to 2009 and the second a more recent effort being tracks featured on a split EP with the Meads of Asphodel.

Self released, ‘The echoes of tales once told’ arrived just a year into OCR’s existence. What is immediately striking is that far from the youthful rumblings one might expect from a fledgling black metal band, OCR not only tapped into a rich vein of creative song-writing but they managed to couple this with a warm production sound far beyond the expected boundaries of a self-produced demo recording. Simply put, OCR exercise a strict quality control that many larger acts could benefit from and by cherry-picking only the three best songs from their recording (which originally featured five songs) OCR crafted a debut EP of exceptional quality. Opening with the organ-led blast of ‘Old Corpse Road’ the initial impression is that the band operate from a none-more-black metal base which incorporates a large part of Cradle of Filth’s early sound (before Dani’s ego eclipsed his ambition) but repeated listens offer up a greater depth that sees the band reference English folk music, pounding black metal and elements of classical music to sculpt grandiose mini epics that are ambitious, intelligent and quintessentially English. Elements of CoF, Darkthrone and Celtic Frost are all present and correct but with multi-faceted vocals, complex arrangements and lengthy tracks OCR immediately strike out as being one of the most original black metal acts to surface in some time.   Better still is the melodic introduction to ‘the wild hunt’ which succeeds in being both beautiful and unsettling which is all the more apt considering the barrage of guitars that scream out of the blackness only to fade out into a spoken word piece of balladry that is part early My Dying Bride, part folk-inflected Isengard with a hint of Burzum’s icy and uncomfortable grandeur thrown in for good measure. A track that sees the lyrical invention of Shakespeare bound up in the blackest metal the UK has produced in many a year it is hard to understand exactly why the name of Old Corpse Road isn’t already plastered across UK metal magazines as this is certainly one of the UK’s most intriguing acts currently treading the boards. The final track goes far above and beyond the previous two with its twelve minute run time and myriad mood and style changes. Referencing the very best of avant-garde black metal ‘the oakmen of Naddle forest’ once again references early my dying bride but this times with hints of black metal alchemists Ulver amidst the icy bleakness of the raging guitars. Yet despite all the points of reference that can be offered up to draw you in, OCR are greater than the sum of their parts, offering up a unique sound that will be a revelation to those who lament the state of black metal in the UK. The immense talent that lurks at the blackened heart of this all-too-brief EP burns brightly and the professionalism and  innate discipline that the band exercise over their music extends to all aspects of their output with a beautifully rendered artwork complimenting the EP perfectly and a stunning website for interested parties to immerse themselves in proving to be the proverbial icing on the cake. Available in a limited run of only 1000 copies, this is the sort of beautiful introduction to a band that is destined to become a revered collector’s piece and if you are a fan of innovative and stunning black metal then you need this now.

May 2010 – Beowolf Productions

OLD CORPSE ROAD hails from the North East of England and play classic British Black Metal. There is a blend of Avant-garde and Folk music inter mixed through out their songs. At times the music blends in spastic blasts and cold vibes while other times they have a really atmospheric dark Gothic overtone. The music is very well written and constructed. The vocals are a combination of fast higher pitched growls and screams with some almost spoken word styles. These guys deliver the goods which has a little bit of everything that makes Black Metal music great. Any Black Metal fan would be proud to have this bands releases in their collection! A must for fans of older EMPEROR, CRADLE OF FILTH, BURZUM and DIMMU BORGIR.

3rd January 2010 – Metal Observer

7.5 / 10

This is undoubtedly one of the strangest band names in Metal I have come across. It surely looks awkward at first sight but as you read the band’s webpage and become absorbed by their music you will notice how well everything is planned here. It is pretty surprising if you take into consideration that “The Echoes Of Tales Once Told” is only the first effort from this quintet that hails somewhere from the northern parts of The United Kingdom.

It all begins with an ominous keyboard passage fitting better the standards of Symphonic Black Metal release rather than a Folk Black one. While it might remind you of a church organ, the evil factor present here indicates that in a moment something fierce will be unleashed. And indeed from the frenzied blast beats, abrasive guitar chaos and piercing shrieks rises an untamed force which wreaks havoc upon the poor listeners’ ears. Certain signs of civilized manners in case of these British barbarians can be seen as the elegant keyboard reappears, yet still the general impression is that you are all the time in the eye of the storm. This force becomes a bit less bloodthirsty in the chorus part where the keys have again more to say and the band shows their skills in creating attention-grabbing swinging fragments. As the most significant chorus component, the keyboards are formed in a somewhat kitschy way, which might have associations with the first efforts from the Swedish THYRFING. In contrast to the opening title track, the other two are not as catchy. Sure, a number of fine moments can be discovered here (check the furious passage at the end of the second minute of the third track which comes back several times later in the song) but the band’s tendency to make their deed more complex results in filling them with material that firstly seems to be somewhat average. Cases in point are the moments, during which one can hear the vocalist recite the lyrics on the background of Folk music accompaniment generated by the keyboard section. While it is undoubtedly atmospheric, one might think that the Brits could have conjured up something more powerful and straightforward, especially after having kicked off with such a good piece of Metal in form of the album opener. Initially, the above-said can not be changed even though OLD CORPSE ROAD have ability to insert such interesting long motives like the middle part of “The Oakmen Of Naddle Forest” which resembles a bit of ULVER and features moody chanting full of longing. It is only after some repeated listening and reading the lyrics that you finally get the group’s point. Suddenly each element of their story fits perfectly one another and the whole thing emerges simply as a puzzle that might engage you for long hours.

As far as the production is concerned, “The Echoes Of Tales Once Told” have been wrapped – despite their raw fundaments – in a fairly warm package. Instead of chilly blizzard blasts one can rather prepare himself/herself for being surrounded by a pleasant breath of the ancient woods. Only occasionally there is a rotten smell floating in the guitar air but this is a thing one must be aware of when communing with nature that sometimes provides a part of its space as a trail, through which corpses are being carried to their final place of rest.

What is also worth attention as regards this demo is the well thought-out lyrical plane that is focused on the old folkloric tales and history of the British Isles (though, even some wider recognized motifs appear vide the “Wild Hunt”). Just read the lyrics while listening to this music and you will probably see how good the band are at creating a complete piece of musical art, for it is not only the sounds that matter in music and OLD CORPSE ROAD seem to be well aware of that.

“The Echoes Of Tales Once Told” is a record easily recommendable especially to those interested in a combination of Black Metal and Folk music, which offers something more apart from good tunes. To put it simply – a very good debut on the Pagan Metal scene.

1st December 2009 – Pest Webzine

Old Corpse Road is a pretty young British Black metal act formed last year. “The Echoes of Tales Once Told” is their debut demo, a three tracks release that lasts for over 24 minutes, so we’re dealing with quite long compositions here. their music is an interesting blend of sharp and to the point Black Metal with Folk acoustic elements (acoustic guitars, narrative clean vocals, choirs), supported by Symphonic keyboards. These guys are pretty good, they manage to create a catchy jurney through Fairy-like themes and atmospheres and that’s their ace, a band that goes for capturing the listener’s attention and grab it tight till the end. The production is very good also, so basically there’s no reason why not giving this demo a try. The last track, the longest (11 minutes), is my fave, very good composition there. The only problem is the three tracks are neither extreme Black Metal, nor Ambiental, they kinda pass from one to another during a track and that might piss off some listeners, but as a debut I think it’s great, their Black Metal parts remind me of a British band called Antigone that sadly split-up around 2000, and that was seen back then as one of the potential revivalist of British Black Metal scene. Hope Old Corpse Road will keep releasing stuff, I’m very curious what the future will bring for this quintet.

Reviewed by Adrian

29th October 2009 – ANTICHRIST Magazine

4 / 5

Hm, I didn’t receive MANY extreme bands from Great Britain during many years, but bands which come to my hands were pretty good. So I was interested listen to this demo when it comes. OLD CORPSE road isn’t old band, they was formed somewhere in the year of 2007, and now we have their 3 songs demo. Well, what we have here? And we have here just great band which play interesting and deep dark British black metal, which is made in purely dark and obscure way, with some keyboard parts as well. I like these songs since very first listening, they got deep into my soul, he-he. Music is made in fast and mid tempos, with, as I said – good keyboards and even I can say OLD CORPSE ROAD’ music sounds a bit original, in spite of all already was played by others… Straight-forward guitar riffs very good mixed with scream vocals and drumming, together with those keys. Also musicians got very serious their composing structure, means music is reach for melodies and atmospheres; as well as tempo-changes and slowdowns, even from extreme side down to acoustic parts! All three songs have its own tunes and beautiful aspects and melodies. I try to find some weak or boring thing in this demo, but… but I did NOT found any! All made almost perfect! So if you ready get dark, catching British metal of darkness (with even Epic touches!) – look for this band! Impressive work!

21st September 2009 -Asgard Root Magazine Issue 2


Released ominously (or hilariously depending on one’s cynicism levels) on Friday 13th March 2009, English horde Old Corpse Road’s first foray into the realms of black metal is a rather decent, accomplished and mature effort that evokes memories of early Cradle of Filth and Emperor in equal measures.

The rather wider listening diet of the band is evidenced by folk touches and moments of reflection that one might imagine accompanying a film set in Celtic times. I especially like the epic chorus to second track “The Wild Hunt” and the same tracks narrations, which had me searching for my old Bal-Sagoth records!

Taking their name from the roads traditionally used to transport corpses to cemeteries, Old Corpse Road have achieved in laying down proof that they are a viable proposition and in brief glimpses show that they can cast aside shackles of their Cradle infatuation and produce genuinely affecting, vital English black metal.

20th July 2009 – Metal Crypt

4 / 5

It is always a pleasant surprise to receive an unexpected promo that happens to fit right into your musical tastes. This is exactly the case here with The Echoes of Tales Once Told. The only bad point about it is that it only contains three songs. Still, with a duration of over 24 minutes, one gets a very good idea about what Old Corpse Road can come up with. The band from the UK was formed in 2007 and the line-up has remained unchanged since.

Black Metal is not only a great genre of music, but also one of the most diversified. You can have some of the most extreme/vicious/rawer style on one side, and on the other side, the over-produced symphonic sub-genre. This album does not belong to either extreme. Well, you do have a bit of the faster times with wicked vocals, but you have more to enjoy. Actually, the best way I could describe their take on the Black Metal arts would be “progressive with folk influences.” The vocals are varied, ranging from the sick rasps, growls, spoken, and even epic choirs. Variation is also in the tempos, although they favored the moderate ones, much to my liking. The folksy elements are found mainly in the lead guitar, as well as in the acoustic parts. “The Wild Hunt” and “The Oakmen of Naddle Forest” are where you can hear those delicate harmonies. This is especially true on the first song where Black Metal and Folk alternate in harmony.

This was a relatively short but excellent introduction to Old Corpse Road. I’m looking forward to a full-length from those British storytellers.

20th July 2009 – Metal Bulletin

My impression of their recording “The Echoes of Tales Once Told” is that .. Old Corpse Road .. has a lot of musical ideas that they implement in their blasting and atmospheric black metal. They, of course, do lots of blasting, frenzied music, but they also include other elements to balance things out with a feel/mood of spoken word and narratives. In this manner the band creates an imaginative type of black metal based on myths, histories, stories and traditions akin to those. The music is already very developed, as are the lyrical concepts, so that the sound is thought out well. The changes from chaotic speed to more somber moments take place in smooth transitions that are not very noticeable, making the song flow well.

23rd June 2009 – Live 4 Metal

An unusual band moniker that is explained thus, ‘Corpse roads provided a practical means of allowing the transport of corpses to cemeteries that had burial rights. In Britain, such routes can also be known by a number of other names: bier road, burial road, coffin road, coffin line, lyke or lych way, funeral road, procession way, etc’

This is English Black Metal without a doubt, you can immediately hear it after a few minutes, and if you are wondering what an English Black Metal sound is like, then read on. Firstly the style is foremost Cradle of Filth driven, the acidic vocal snarl evokes Dani Filth to the maximum. Secondly, the keyboards here generate a symphonic beauty amongst the guitar born carnage. This 3 track demo really is a very strong release with a high degree of infectious grooves etched out of the fluent musical tapestry woven here. Cradles of Filth comparisons have been detrimental to UK bands in the past. Hecate Enthroned never recovered from it, Reign of Erebus suffered from it. But I feel now Cradle are no longer a dominant force in the underground so to speak, it will not harm these talented fellows. The comparison is also unavoidable. The songs are intricately weaved with acoustics and keyboards sewn between virulent fast Black Metal and slower more brooding guitar arrangements. There is also a high injection of folk style moods akin to Irish act Waylander. The song, The Oakmen of Naddle Forest, is eleven minutes of pure atmosphere. It oozes a Bathory vocal chant, and even reminded me of that other old English band Ragnarok [my friend Deorth would be most impressed with this track]. The slow burning momentum and overall Pagan feeling here is truly stunning. I very rarely left feeling awe struck by music these days, but this demo had me on the verge of such an emotion. This band are top drawer and I wish them well in their path of Black Metal creativity. Get the demo. Review by Crin

23rd June 2009 – MetalCore Fanzine

This is a black metal band from the UK and they are quite an excellent band. The music is haunting black metal with nice mixes of fast and slower, moody parts and the singer has an excellent black metal style voice. The songs have a nice blend to them and just capture that evil feeling a lot of other bands lack. The production is right on the money and this is one of the best black metal bands I have heard in quite some time. A smart label should snatch these guys up right now. Excellent release.

25th May 2009 – Metal Archives

“The echoes of tales once told” is a superb demo, and if you love black metal, you will understand what I mean when I say that it has “that feeling”, inherent in all quality and heartfelt black metal. Old Corpse Road succeed in this by creating very interesting, quite long and absorbing songs, with many moments of sheer beauty, rage and darkness, tinged with a tenderness for nature and heritage, one only experiences with black metal of this calibre. The vocals are varied and exciting (no less than four of the band contributing here), with vocals on the eponymous first song reminding me of Demonos Sova of Barathrum, at times Piaty of Sunwheel to name a couple. Throughout this cd we have black metal screams and shrieks, guttural death vocals, and strong spoken word in a classic and very affective (and importantly, genuine!) English accent. The drumming through the cd is solid and passionate, correctly never encroaching too much in the mix. As the backbone of any metal song, the drums are consistent, strong and perfect for the songs that it supports. Blast beats are played vigorously and in time, the fills drag you into the next part of the song with flair. The guitars have a crunch in the distortion giving way to layers of dark riffing, performed with skill, they are exactly what is required to pull off these songs. We also have several acoustic passages, gentle and distinctive, they really succeed in defining certain moments during the songs. Bass is again played with skill and serves not to merely shadow the guitars, but bring in a groove of its own to underpin the guitar passages and strengthen them boldly. The keyboard passages come and go, timed perfectly to complement the mood, ranging from choirs, reminiscent of “In the nightside eclipse”, to church organ, reminiscent of early Cradle Of Filth. The keyboards are played when necessary, not constantly, unlike a lot of formulaic black metal we have all heard many times before. In summary this is an excellent cd, the first song will have you chanting “the old corpse road” long after you have heard it, song two will raise the hairs on you neck with rousing black metal class, song three will make you long for more classic black metal with it’s passion and paces, and each song will mean so much more when listened to with the lyrics at hand. I cannot recommend this enough to the black metal connoisseur. I expect even greater music to come from Old Corpse Road, I can’t wait for the full length album, until then, “The tales of tales once told” will remain in my car’s cd player for the foreseeable future!

25th May 2009 – Zero Tolerance Magazine


Despite the somewhat pastoral name and cover art, this three-track demo consists, in face, of fairly harsh black metal augmented by keyboards, but not as reliant on them as many pagan or folkloric black metal bands. A little like Korvus or even early Emperor, this is a highly effective blast of tuneful but not commercial BM, with the first, eponymous track maybe the best of a very good bunch. They even manage to pull off spoken passages without sounding ridiculous – no mean feat. Excellent stuff, and great guitars, too.


25th May 2009 – Metal Centre

8 / 10

When I received the disc of OLD CORPSE ROAD I did not expect Black Metal, because the cover-art misleaded me totally… but from the second side – the information announced Black Metal horde is fascinated a British folklore, the myths and the legends… and therefore the green of a forest from the cover-art surely was inspired above mentioned themes. Moreover the musicians do not use the corpse-painting but they have special pseudonyms: The Revenant, The Bearer, The Wanderer and The Dreamer.

However the bands like BAL-SAGOTH, CRADLE OF FILTH or ABIGOR are the musical fascinations of members of the team. Those fascinations are audible in the compositions of the band. The quick and sharp black metal sounds and the vocals full of the aggression are the main musical interventions which are enriched by the acoustic guitars and the dark recitations. Additionally the folk melodies and the choruses as well as the ambient keyboard create the additional ornamentation of the composition.

These three tracks of the demo are very complex and have the diverse pace (with superiority of the very quick rhythms) and are the multi-thematic. “The Echoes of Tales Once Told” brings a lots of a darkness, an aggression and a remembrance of the past times. The demo also is the homage for the early scene of the British Black Metal.

12th May 2009 – Spirit of Metal


British folklore may not be acknowledged as much as it should, but when put with a sound that is as epic as bathory, as atmospheric as burzum and with the symphony of early dimmu borgir/emperor, it becomes sheer perfection. Old corpse road (hailing from the north of england) have done exactly that with their 2009 demo “The Echoes of Tales Once Told”. They are named after the roads that were once used to transport the dead to cemeteries, and these roads were often associated with spirits, ghosts etc…

“The Echoes of Tales Once Told” brings their unique blend of traditional folk and the early black metal scene kicking and screeching into the 21st century with fantastic production but still somehow managing to retain the original feel and atmosphere. It truly is hard to believe that this is just their first demo.

The vocals of old corpse road are comprised of various haunting shrieks, growls, chants and even spoken word (the latter only the British accent could pull off well). This huge range of vocal styles ensures the music always stays fresh. The keyboards/ambience compliments the buzzing guitars perfectly in a union of melancholy and intensity to create a unique black metal experience.

This is definitely a band to look out for in the future, and one I have very high hopes for. But in the meantime hunt down this demo (on their myspace or where i got it from, Ebay) and I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

Warlord of Misanthropy

8th May 2009 – The UK Legions of Black Metal Zine

Review by JD

Now this is a storming debut demo from North East England Black Metallers OCR. The three tracks on the cd reek of Cradle of Filth’s debut (& arguably best) debut album ‘The Principles of Evil Made Flesh’ & this is by no means a bad thing since no band has ever managed to catch that vibe without sounding like poor Cradle rip offs, OCR achieved the vibe but have also added there own twists & turns weaving naturalistic folk elements as well as sounds from all across the BM world. Add the fact that lyrically they focus on ancient English mythology & you’ve got a beautiful cherry topping this Black Metal fairy cake. The first track ‘The Old Corpse Road’ kicks off with a catchy quick organ riff before exploding with a ferocious blast beat & continues interchanging between melodic & blasting phases over laid with vocals that are spat out with sheer spite before delivering a chorus that will have you screaming “The Old Corpse Road” for days to come. The song then gives a short chilled mid section of light keys & acoustic guitar before building back to the catchy aural assault with accompanying vocal chants. ‘The Wild Hunt’ starts with an earthy acoustic riff which is then smashed to pieces with a crack of the snare & blasts away before dropping back into the same earthy feeling acoustic wilderness, this time accompanied by a poetic spoken vocal. The song continues to ripple up & down before delivering an awesome triumphant built up end section. The eleven minute closer ‘The Oakmen of Naddle Forest’ brings a progressive feel to the table while traveling through different BM & folk styles, a perfect tune to roll a spliff & journey through ancient England. At the end of the day this demo has done what it made to do, which is to show that OCR are talented musicians who have a grasp on writing solid well produced Black Metal with the possible potential of growing from an original band to being a truly unique band.

19th April 2009 – Metalonic

5 / 6

I have never heard much English black metal or English mythology. But Old Corpse Road are apparently going to change that. The band recently released their first self-financed demo with three tracks. The lyrics and the music have its roots in the English mythology and stories. The music is, according to their website, a mixture of Black Metal, ambient, and traditional music. You can also clearly hear the band’s vision is to experiment with genres, without being completely avant-gardism.

1. The Old Corpse Road

The song starts off with a short organ intro that runs into a very traditional black metal with added organ and symphonic elements. The vocal switches between a glacial black metal voice, regular growl, vocal harmony with both normal singing and black metal vocals. Production works really well on the track, but I think the sound of drums seems a bit misplaced. Since they have a little bit too much of treble sound on the drums, compared to the other instruments. It definitely doesn’t destroy the song; it’s not something you think a whole lot about, but still.

2. The Wild Hunt

The next song on the disc is more folk-inspired, it starts out with some acoustic guitar and spoken words. A raw vocal are also merging the spoken word, it sounds incredibly good, when the two vocals meet. It’s a great feature of the number, which also fits very well with the melodic black that also is present. Old Corpse Road are obviously talented musicians and has good sense of melodies and moods. The melodies are much better and varied, than the average bands in the black metal genre. The fusion between keyboards and acoustic guitars are very imaginative and innovative. The quality of variation in use of various instruments, will lead the band for a secure future in the metal environment.

The Wild Hunt is a very different folk/black metal song, which draws the mind towards the Norwegian band Borknagar.

The traditional black metal vocal, is also one of the best I have heard in a long time. Sometimes Insahn and his performance on “in the night side eclipse” pops up in my mind when I listen.

3. The Oakmen of Naddle Forest

The last and longest track (11:22 minutes) also contains spoken word, blastbeats, symphonic approach as we know it from the Emperor and Troll. The Oakmen of Naddle Forest is more in the folk genre than previous tracks. The lyrics fit the music 100%. You can sit and fantasize yourself to a whole other world, when the deep voice with a strong English accent enigmatic and cold whispers:

“Sit down, be silent

Gather around the fire

The breeze sits gentle

Warm your bones and heed these words”

While the length of a track may influence the quality, Old Corpse Road has the ability to make this exciting piece of music complete throughout.

Everything is functioning in this song, but the long phrases are a little too hard, for the otherwise talented vocalist. That loses his breath in a few paragraphs of the song, when the lyrics are to be sung fast. It doesn’t sound too good. But peace be with it, it is not easy to scream so many words in such a short time. It’s also the only minus for the song at all.

The rest of the setup with the fantastic and mysterious composed ambient music, choirs, mix of black, death metal and spoken word. All tells me, that I have to give this release a very high rating because it is a publication of high quality!

By the way, none of the members use their real names in the band, which is quite cool in my opinion.

The Bearer – Guitars and Vocals

The Revenant – Guitars and Vocals

The Wanderer – Bass and Spoken Words

The Dreamer – Percussion and Ambience

The Watcher – Keyboards, Violin and Vocals


It’s a really good demo, there is absolutely no lag in musical excellence and variety. I am excited to hear what the band offers in the future, because with this release, there is definitely something good in sight.

A call to all fans of black metal and experimental music: Purchase this demo it’s limited to 1000 copies! Keep an eye close to what the future will bring from Old Corpse Road.

12th May 2009 – Metal Engine 8/10

To be honest I was kind of hoping to get something genuinely bad for my first review because it would be easier to write a long list of complaints. But OCR first demo has the nerve to be both folk black metal and actually enjoyable so there goes my hope.

OCR hail from the leafier parts of north-east England and looking at the cover (a picture containing nothing but a rock covered with moss or lichen, some stinging nettles, grass and other pieces of foliage) and their logo (actually decipherable) one would not suspect black metal. One only gets about 40 of actual black metal in any case but more about that later.

I actually sketched out a song by song review because it is only a demo after all, but it didn’t really work because I just ended up repeating myself. Not that the songs are too similar, but they are all of the same breed.

It is a bit like the fact that the average Opeth song can be summarized with ‘hard passage, acoustic break, hard passage, acoustic break fusing into climax’.

In this case the formula is something like ‘black metal part, atmospheric part, black metal part, atmospheric part, black metal part, climax’.

Despite this the Old Corpse Road is not repetitive but in fact quite scenic. The black metal parts are quite sameish but I think that’s a genre problem rather than the band’s fault and it is not like they do eight minutes of blasting with the same two note riff. The atmospheric passages in particular are very diverse, ranging from Opeth style acoustic guitar pieces to spoken word interludes with additions of choirs, chants, a harsh voice and ambient effects. This works especially well on the second and third song, but not so much in the first where the initial melody is a recurring motif, which would be less a shame if it wasn’t so damn annoying. But I don’t mind because the song is quite short and the next two redeem it easily.

In conclusion I think the songwriting has a lot of potential but it is not perfect, for two main reasons. First several passages, especially the harsh ones, feel copy/pasted at times, which is not exactly bad but creates an odd feeling with me, but since it is a demo I think we can overlook that. Second point is that at times, especially in the first song, the soft passages appear for no real reason, there’s no slow breaking down or any feeling of ‘there should be something happening now’.

From songwriting we turn to the instruments. The guitars play mostly fast tremolo riffs which come as no surprise but since it is a folky and we have some melodies over the riffs and a lot of them during the soft passages, which is very good because if they had relied solely on keyboard ambient effects I wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much.

The drums blast and fill and while they do not really stand out they are certainly competent and support the rest as good as probably possible.

There is a bass player and on one or two occasions he makes a clear if not flashy appearance but mostly he is buried under the guitar fuzz. A shame maybe, but in a lot of bands you simply never hear that they use the bass player for more than increasing the beauty level so any bass presence simply has to be appreciated.

On top of all this competent musicianship lounge the vocals and it has to be said that they are the strongest piece in the band. The vocals range from common black metal shrieks to semi growls to somber spoken passages which sound really, really good, deep and able to shift from soothing to intimidating with no effort at all. Impressive.

I would love to say something about the lyrics but there weren’t any with the demo or any on a few websites I tried so I have to guess at the content. The shrieks are pretty indecipherable but here and there I understood something and the spoken parts also gave some hints. The lyrics seem to reach disjointedly from some mythic stories about death and doom to praising of trees which is probably as far as lyrical variation can go in this genre. Also I never heard the word Satan uttered or screamed which upset the little prejudice man in me but calmed the reviewer.

The last point in a review is the production and often the critical one for a demo and to my surprise the band was indeed right when they promised a good quality in their press statement. Ok, so the fuzzy guitars are a bit thin at times and they bury the bass and the drums could be louder but what the hell I say, it is almost up with Kampfar’s Kvass in terms of production and for a black metal demo that is good indeed.

So this is, all in all, a good demo. It gives you a small dose of standard black metal and a huge kick of atmosphere. Definitely recommended. 8/10 (Nils Hesebeck)

2nd July 2009 – Metal Underground 3/5

Going down the Old Corpse Road, you’ll see beautiful scenery of tall trees, small villages of storytelling trolls, and huge castles with knights practicing their sword fighting. Not liking all this fantasy stuff? That’s fine because although these images are presented through Old Corpse Road’s debut album “The Echoes of Tales Once Told,” the music is solid. The music in question is melodic black metal that tries to connect with an older time as well as with nature. Some parts of the album are spoken narratives to prove that Old Corpse Road loves their folklore traditions. Medieval culture is a large part of the band, but don’t be afraid to give it a listen for the black metal of it all.

The album begins with keyboards and works its way into black metal. The tempo is paced perfectly, which wouldn’t be something to write about unless it was superb. The drums play a syncopated rhythm between the perfect time and double bass frenzy. The guitars never play any fancy shreds, but they do play in time with the keyboards which makes those instruments stick out from the framework of the music. The vocals are that of a troll. It’s a high-pitched growl or squeal that fits well into the theme of the dark ages. The electric music blends into acoustic on a few occasions which blasts back into black with no warning. No huge surprises here, but it is very well played music.

Old Corpse Road made their debut album flawless production-wise as the quality is great. The music is tight and interesting but may not be called incredible. The spoken narrative is exhilarating at first, as if you were one of the soldiers preparing for battle, but it does lose its steam after a while. Eventually you’ll want to yell “Let’s fight already!” as it continues. “The Echoes of Tales Once Told” gives me hope that the next CD we receive from Old Corpse Road will be a masterpiece.

Highs: Very good black metal with a medeival theme.

Lows: Spoken narrative and acoustic pieces make the album lose momentum.

Bottom line: A good symphonic black metal sound, but no wow-worthy moments.