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Korpituli - As Infinite Shadows Of The Nightsky review

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Band: Korpituli
Album: As Infinite Shadows Of The Nightsky
Release date: July 2022

01. The Keys And Gates To Unhallowed Lands
02. Endless Whispers Echo
03. Celestial Nightfires
04. Lost, Unspoken Sorrow Of Ages
05. Nostalgia Burning
06. In The Witches Circle
07. Eternal Shadows Dance

Korpituli’s sophomore outing of Burzumy black metal doesn’t stray very far from its roots, yet always seems in a rush to break free. Third time’s the charm?

I’ve had this guy on my radar since covering his debut album a year ago, which was a bare-boned take on Burzum’s brand of melancholic, hypnotic black metal. Considering recent events, perhaps also Korpituli’s one-man project could be said to have created his albums behind bars, if not of the literal kind… In any case, such are the vibes I get when listening to As Infinite Shadows Of The Nightsky; a sense of dreaming, of longing for freedom, of the split second between drowning in catatonia, catching a glimpse of a thunderbolt through a narrow window, and violently rushing into any direction that might lead outwards. Sort of like the band name itself, come to think of it, which roughly translates as “Primordial Forest Fire”. For better and for worse, this metaphor aptly conveys the atmosphere of the music, its progression since the debut, as well as some more technical considerations.

Hold your horses and I’ll explain… The opening track had me worried; it is convincing and passionate enough, and while ultra-conservative black metal remains a viable niche, you’d better have damn good reasons for kicking that dead horse. There are some nice grooves and one-man kind-of gang-shouts, and a raw urgency compared to the debut album, but at a length of six minutes, it wears out its welcome, which is obviously not good for an opener. A Filosofem-like hovering tremolo line starts off “Endless Whispers Echo”, which then slows down the pace considerably into ritualistic blackened doom. It’s a bold choice for a second track, maybe a bit too bold, but somehow doesn’t feel nearly as long as the opener even though it’s nearly seven minutes of slow-paced repetition. The key to this? A sparse piano melody that gradually, patiently develops into something between gothic and neoclassical. It takes some balls to rely on an element some listeners might not even notice, and to me, this is a telltale sign of some good songwriting.

So, those were the “catatonia” and “thunderbolt” comparisons from earlier. Now, for the “rushing” aspect… It is two-fold: as the tracklist progresses, more and more unexpected, outlandish elements show up. “Lost, Unspoken Sorrow Of Ages” is dynamic, almost progressive, and puts that piano and some strings to great use while Korpituli demonstrates the serious, theatrical vocal chops I already knew him capable of since reviewing the brilliant debut album of avant-garde black metal band Alkuharmonian Kantaja last year. He sounds like a whole menagerie of characters, or personal traits, rushing to break free from their earthly bonds. Quite impressive.

However, the other, uh, fold of those two folds is also my main gripe with As Infinite Shadows Of The Nightsky: it all feels a bit rushed, with some tracks coming off as much more developed than others, and the trebly production job being of a somewhat demo-level quality. I know, I know, some of you will say that’s how this music ought to sound, but you know what? For the debut album, that was just fine, but with all the added elements from keyboards and creative vocals (and even some time signature witchery), I’d expect more care given to giving all the layers a space of their own.

As Infinite Shadows Of The Nightsky is a step in an interesting direction, when it actually settles for a single direction. The performance and originality factors take steps in the right direction, while the production and songwriting factors hesitate to follow behind. My previous verdicts stands, perhaps even more strongly this time around: Korpituli has the skills, the passion, and the potential to develop into something great. Third time’s the charm, eh? Take your time, I’ll be waiting.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 6

Written on 28.07.2022 by 100% objective opinions.

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