Corpus Christi

A Feast for Crows

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A little over a year after issuing their debut album, Darker Shades of White -- a mixed bag of metalcore with somewhat immature songwriting and a meld of harsh and melodic vocals -- Christian metallers Corpus Christi are back with an almost entirely new lineup, and a record that clearly lays waste to its predecessor. The lineup change -- four out of five members, only guitarist/melodic vocalist Jarrod Christman remains -- is reflected most in the sounds coming from harsh-vocal frontman Max O'Conell and the wildly versatile drum attack of Andrew Poling. After the de rigeur atmospheric intro of "The Red Horse Is Upon Us," the band roars to life in "A Portrait of Modern Greed." The twin guitar attack of Christman's rhythmic riffing and Derek Ayres' knotty, blistering fills and leads are underscored by how often Poling shifts his focus from crucial blastbeats to triple-time assertions to fills and breaks that keep the listener completely off-kilter. The harsh lead vocal/melodic vocal choruses are the same, but the voices meld better and Christman's melodic vocals aren't so out front -- a plus. And while the lyrics are simply an aggressive Christian response to those in a lot of death metal's, the architecture in Corpus Christi's songs is full of subtle hooks and overdriven, even transcendent choruses -- check "Monuments." "Broken Man" and the more production-savvy "(Seeing You Again) For the First Time" -- in the middle of its apocalyptically ferocious sonic assault. There's even a thrashing play on blues rock in "Little Miss Let You Know." A Feast for Crows doesn't merely reflect growth, but a new identity that is less indebted to the band's influences and asserts its own brand on the metal scene.

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