(Description by J. Campbell)
Over the last few years, The Corpse, the lone musician behind Cemetery Lights, has ably demonstrated his unique talent for traversing the chasm between contemporary musical sensibilities and classic, second wave black metal, especially the likes of Mortuary Drape, Necromantia, and Zemial. With each successive release, he has continued to perfect the baleful, macabre sound for which his project has come to be known, and his new release, “Consumption,” which has been three years in the making, is the most fully realized expression of this sound. Primarily used in two ways, consumption can mean the act or process of consuming or a progressive wasting away of the body, especially from pulmonary tuberculosis. Both meanings are thematically at play on this album, which recounts the tale of Mercy Brown, an obscure piece of folklore from Rhode Island, the band’s place of origin. During the 19th century, tuberculosis—known as “consumption” for the way it consumed its victims’ bodies—spread aggressively through New England. Seeing households ravaged by the illness, many came to believe that some victims remained partially animated, sucking vitality from the living—a sort of Puritanical twist on the Old World vampire legend. To protect against this, family members would exhume their loved ones’ bodies and cut them open to examine their organs. The discovery of fresh, liquid blood in the heart was, to their superstitious minds, a tell-tale sign of the corpse’s undead nature. As a banishing ritual, they removed and burned the “fresh” organs they found. In the mid-1880s, consumption struck the family of George Brown. His wife and eldest daughter died first, and, in 1891, his son Edwin and daughter Mercy fell ill. After Mercy succumbed to the disease, George, persuaded by local villagers, allowed the exhumation of his deceased family. With onlookers gathered round, they opened Mercy’s body and finding a blood-filled heart, concluded that the 19-year-old girl was, indeed, the source of the disease. They burnt her heart and liver, the ashes of which were mixed into a tonic and given to Edwin as a cure, though he died two months later. Finely tuned to this this conceptual narrative, the music on “Consumption” is stripped down and austere yet confident, owing the mastery of The Corpse’s songwriting. Coalescing around the steely persistence of the drums, the tangled storm of melodic bass riffs weave through the tracks like a burning filament conducting the charged current of the guitar. The Corpse’s deep, miasmic bellows hang like fog above the torrential fury of the instrumentation, haunting the tracks. The composition is dynamic, chiseled riffs pieced together in perfect agreement to construct complex melodic structures amid shifting tempos. Even on the first listen, the meticulous attention to detail that went into the creation of this album is manifest. Every element is deliberately arranged and drawn together to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts, an impressive feat given Cemetery Lights’ reliance on only the most basic ingredients: drums, bass, guitar, and vocals, recorded with few overdubs and minimal overdrive. For those who already worship at the altar of Cemetery Lights, this album will certainly exceed all expectations. And for everyone else, “Consumption” is the high-water mark of the Cemetery Lights catalog and thus an ideal entry point for further exploration.
Cemetery Lights "Consumption" CD
- Brand: NWN
- Product Code: CD
- Availability: In Stock