Corpse Garden – Burnt by the Light
When I accepted the task of reviewing the first album from a band named Corpse Garden, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I started imagining what a band with such an odd name could sound like. After all, what the hell is a corpse garden? As my imagination wandered, I finally decided that I would need to sit down and listen to the record to get to the bottom of this. I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard when I did.
Hailing from Costa Rica, Corpse Garden is a band that is heavily influenced by the founders of death metal. Their sound is reminiscent of bands like Death, Deicide, Obituary, and Morbid Angel, without sounding like a straight copycat. They are very capable of constructing slow, grinding passages as well as blazingly fast ones. A great example of this type of interchange can be heard on the track “Unspoken Words”.
The drum work on this album is great. Drummer Erick Mejia utilizes the snare drum on the upbeat often to provide an interesting backdrop to the blazing guitar work of Luis Cambronero and Federico Gutierrez. At times, his work on the cymbals is suggestive of a 1980s Dave Lombardo from Slayer. His fills also kept me on my toes as I listened to this record. Rather than constantly doing blast beats or ceaseless bars of double bass notes, Mejia constructs a varied attack that keeps the music interesting.
I am a huge fan of the guitar solos on Burnt by the Light. The lead parts are very melodic and remind me of the guitar work of Vital Remains (see “Architects of Deception” and “Echoes of Death”). Unfortunately, there aren’t that many solos on this record, which leaves something to be desired. Gutierrez and Cambronero, as I mentioned above, are good at alternating between fast-paced riffs and slower ones. The resulting sound makes me want to jump out of my seat and bang my head to the beat.
The vocals are probably my favorite aspect of this album. Corpse Garden utilizes two vocal tracks to give their mix some extra added brutality. Roberto Vargas’s guttural vocal attack evokes memories of Secthdamon on Zyklon’s Disintegrate (2006). Another band that comes to mind when listening to Vargas’s vocals is Deicide. Corpse Garden is certainly standing on the shoulders of giants with this record.
One point of criticism is I feel this album could be tighter. There are occasions when the drums and guitars are out of sync with each other. The musicians in Corpse Garden are certainly talented enough instrumentally and they could have rectified this in my opinion. Other than that minor detail, the production quality and mixing on Burnt by the Light are stellar and do the music justice.
Ultimately, while Corpse Garden isn’t really blazing a new trail in the death metal scene, they are certainly a band to look out for and their first album was an enjoyable listen for me. I’m looking forward to see what they cook up in coming years. Keep an eye on these Costa Rican metalheads. You can check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/corpsegardencrCorpse Garden - Burnt by the Light,