Originally written by Jordan Campbell
A punny name that’s borderline unpronounceable. Dull, black-and-gray cover art. A Dark Descent logo plastered on the spine. Care to venture a guess as to what we have here?
Well, if you’ve just stepped out of a cave, not only are you Corpsessed‘s target audience, but you might need a hint: This is dirgy, dirty old-school death metal that culls from the typical suspects — Incantation for atmosphere, Stockholm for tones. But, true to their Finnish roots,Corpsessed also employs subtle nods to both Demigod and Demilich (in their most conventional moments, of course).
So, is The Dagger and the Chalice — a six-track EP (if you count the pointless intro as a track) — worth your time if you’re already well-versed in the exploits of the previously-mentioned acts? If you’re a Dark Descentdevotee, the answer is, “Sure, I guess.” Those with less cultish tendencies towards this stuff may want to tread with caution.
Even at six tracks, The Dagger and the Chalice gets a bit bloated. Proper opener “Crypt Infester” is absolutely crushing, packed with fat (and familiar) tones and sub-guttural cave bellows. As a hauntingly simple melody brings the thing to a close, it seems that they’ve crafted a winning take on an angle that is seeing increasingly diminished returns.
However, the meat of the EP is painfully boring; while the band absolutely nails the formula in terms of production and atmosphere, there’s an alarming dearth of quality riffage. Attention drifts with ease, andCorpsessed doesn’t re-groove until the title–and final–track. Bestial and fast-as-fuck, this three-minute burst is the most compelling thing on the disc. While it sacrifices their broiling mass for unhinged viciousness, it’s a worthy tradeoff.
Thus, Corpsessed shows flashes of coolness amidst an incredibly crowded field. In the context of old-school death, this occupies a worthwhile middle ground: The Dagger and the Chalice isn’t as impenetrable as some of the current Incantaclones, and it’s far more stout and stone-footed than the party-death of labelmates Gravehill. Plus, it features a member ofWormphlegm, so there’s an added cult-curiosity factor to the proceedings.
However, it’s hard to overlook the fact that this material often struggles to engage, even in the tailor-made EP format. Shrugging out a “for fans only” recommendation is a bit of a cop-out, but that’s par for the course with this stuff. There are only two options: Gorge yourself or move along. To those that choose the former parth, be warned: Gluttony is not a virtue.