A Kiss In The Charnel Fields

Korova - A Kiss In The Charnel Fields ©1995 Napalm Records
1. Intro: Der Weltenbrand / Das Kreuz Und Der Metzenapfel
2. After The Fruits Of Ephemeral Pulchritude
3. Lachrydeus Mittelgard (Slahan Fontagr Inn Aw I)
4. Entlebt In Tristem Morgenblut
5. Intro: Im Teich Erlischt Ein B Chlein
6. Awakening From Perpetual Contemplation (Yellow Mahogany Tomb. I)
7. Latin Dreams In Turpentine
8. Nordsciltim - In The Filth Where All Cull Perambulates Pain
9. Salømeh, Des Teufels Braut
10. A Kiss In The Charnel Fields

In a nutshell, Korova's first album, the ambitious and sprawling A Kiss in the Charnel Fields, is a complete mess. The band's dreams and hopes for this album lay high in the stratospheres of unparallelled creativity, but unfortunately (as so often happens), the execution of the album lay far below in much less impressive regions.

Korova belongs to a subgenre of metal that probably should simply be called Weirdo-Metal. As with bands like Sigh or Arcturus, Korova attempts blending, melding and otherwise mixing many disparate parts into a supposedly much more impressive whole, but their debut proves the band wasn't quite ready to successfully pull it off. Their main base of music is an adventurous black metal hybrid, complete with occasional "Donald Duck with a chest cold" vocals. They also throw in any other vocals that happen to be convenient with a range from pseudo-operatic to chanting to shouting, shrieking, hollering and even speak-singing. Keyboards, rambling guitar riffs and strange song structures also coexist in this quagmire of sounds and ideas. A lot of it seems to be preening for attention and shouting, "Look at us, we're different and weird!"

The main stumbling block A Kiss in the Charnel Fields faces is the inability to convincingly take all the separate parts and make cohesive songs out of them. The changes are often abrupt, jarring and do not let the music breathe in any way. It's almost as if the listener is a large rag doll being roughly tossed around between the band members. Not many songs have even a few standout moments and the result is that one feels like they've just listened to an unsorted rehearsal tape. No matter what, this album is simply a drag.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2002

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Dead Like An Angel

Korova - Dead Like An Angel ©1998 Napalm Records
1. Europa In Flammen
2. Strangulation Alpha
3. Our Reality Dissolves
4. Trip To The Bleeding Planets
5. Dead Like An Angel
6. Echoworld Caravans
7. Der Schlafmann Kommt
8. Tantra-Nove-HyperCannibalism

Dead Like and Angel has the chaotic metallic power of Abigor and the convulsive charm of a Danny Elfman score; the metal itself is heavy and dense and creates a strong enough gravitational pull to bring carnival music, bleak fairy tale fare, electronic music, and the simply bazaar into its orbit, albeit loosely. The music is amorphous in form and gelatinous in execution, a myriad of vaguely related sections drawn together in loose, nebulous compositions. The metal here is fast and furious, but has enough decency to slow down now and then to provide breathing space for the listener, as well as providing areas where more hypnotic and textured arrangements can come into play. The music tends to wind around and fall back on itself quite a bit, with extremely complex and unpredictable arrangements punctuated with the repetitive trance parts scattered throughout.

While Korova's music is very eclectic, it should not be labeled pastiche, for while the compositions contain many ideas and elements from disparate genres, they are all assimilated into the dark weirdness that is Korova and stripped of their original context or significance. The techno parts are not simply techno, but rather Korova's "interpretation" of techno. The atmosphere that pervades through all and unifies the album is that of a perverse fairytale; Grimms' fairy tales as conceptualized by the Marquis De Sade. The singing, provided primarily by Martina Hornbacher (who has worked with Dreams of Sanity) and madman Christof Niederwieser, is often off-key and sounds very much like strange elderly figures seducing children with magic candies. The lyrics are positively obsessed with technology and religious iconography, which sounds (in print) like the lyrics any other metal album - except that they're a good deal more abstract and artful, written in allegory and metaphor, with very little literal meaning.

The album is very colorful, and also (as with many things that are colorful) quite inaccessible. It is very much like brutal death metal on heavy hallucinogens, with an almost enlightened degree of perversity and "genuine evil" lurking around every corner. Its darkness reveals in a way the opulent silliness of the exaggerated satanism and sensationalism in most "evil" popular music. Like Sigh, they simply use dark metal as a springboard into more sinister and experimental terrain. Korova cannot be narrowly defined. The only thing we can all be certain of is their obvious commitment in creating ambitiously perverse music. I can only suggest this music to the weirdos of the underground music scene - you know who you are and you know that you have to buy this album. Korova well earns the right to the reference that is their name.

Review by James Slone

Review date: 11/2000

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