Finland’s Coraxo offer another twist on progressive death metal. The trio play things aggressive and technical, but they use keyboards and electronics to give each song on “Neptune” it’s own stamp and it’s own texture. The lead track “Sol Oriens Sum” is a dreamy instrumental that has the keys up front. “Lanterns” has a slight techno keyboard sound that usually is associated with djent bands, but Coraxo are NOT djent at all. The song ends with a wild and weird keyboard sound that scared the shit out of me the first few listens.
Next up is one of my favorite tracks, “Tangier.” This mid-tempo track has a more layered keyboard backing the band and adds melody to an otherwise harsh track. The keys add a dynamic that the band often use as a dichotomy. Heavy, death metal versus beautiful keys. I love that tension between the two.
“The Bastion” reminds me of Scar Symmetry with a driving, kick ass rhythm. Since I love Scar Symmetry, this is a good thing. Vocalist (and guitarist and keyboardist) Tomi Toivonen sticks to harsh vocals throughout the album and honestly it works better. The keyboards act like a clean vocal for me. They are like a counterpoint to the brutality that the band is inflicting on the listener.
“In Adoration” even has a sax on it! How’s that for unique. The intro is keys and sax before the band kicks in with blast beats flying. These are total opposites and it WORKS! “Signal Detected” is a foray into almost industrial metal, which points out that these guys can basically do whatever brand of metal they like and pull it off.
Finland have so many great bands and Coraxo are yet another to emerge from that great country. “Neptune” may have some very different elements to it with the use of keyboards, but the bottom line is that the songs are high caliber. “Neptune” is a 40 minute roller coaster ride of top notch sci-fi death metal that merits many repeated listens to fully grasp the darkness and beauty that lie within.
1. Sol Oriens Sum
4. The Bastion
5. The Citadel
6. In Adoration
8. Signal Detected
10. Ending Credits