Cornigr - Relics of Inner War

Origin: Finland
Label: Final Agony Records
Release: 2011
Type: Full Length

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It would be hard to guess that this now defunct act was active since 2002, with just one full length and a couple of mini releases on their backs. Cornigr were and one man band by Vainaja, who kept it as a personal side project while working with other more popular Finnish bands. He has been involved with Saturnian Mist, Horna, he's active with Vitsaus and also has played bass in Sargeist, while Cornigr were for sure the place where he would exert his musical ideas freely. Relics of Inner War has a distance of eight years with its previous release, a short demo in 2003 all in Finnish, which depicted a big evolutionary leap that justified this time period gap.

As many countries, the more typical bands from Finland have grown to have their own touch to the sound of black metal, as it has evolved from the second wave and onwards. We shouldn't hesitate to say that Relics of Inner War falls into the same category, as it wouldn't remind the listener directly of other Finnish bands, but more of a vicious album that features plenty of well-written tracks and leans slightly to the orthodox black direction, when at the same time stays far away from it. The production is not perfect but audible, it wouldn't need to be any cleaner than it is and can be a fine example of how an album completely worked by one person might come out.

There are several points on the positive side for Cornigr, not just the compositional confidence and enthralling content of Relics of Inner War. The guitar lines are ripping and offering potent riffs all throughout, the record's unfiltered sound enhances the band's purpose and character and produces a rather chaotic result, where one has to be more careful than usual to discover the different musical parts. In a sense, Relics of Inner War is a rather introverted record that provokes the feeling of isolation when listening to it, but not in a shallow manner that many black metal bands think they provoke. 

The distant and painful sound of the vocals, as well as the textual work on Relics of Inner War, reach the level the instrumentation demands. While the record contains parts of weary black metal melodies, moments of a more chaotic playing can really show what this band was capable of. It's not the most original piece of all time or the most processed, but its sincerity and strength of the tunes is absolutely compelling after a couple of spins. Cornigr created a sturdy album that kind of stayed in the shadows, or just eluded me for a long time.

I like how at first, you notice a couple of short duration tracks that last around two minutes and think that it will be worthy-to-be-skipped interludes. However, Relics of Inner War does not stray from the guitars - bass - drums - vocals setup at any time, and it's far more exciting to hear a faster black metal track of one minute, than blurry dark ambient sounds. What Cornigr does is keep playing in both "Rotten Embrace" and "Brand Carrier's Canticle", the latter being a two minute monster and one of my favorites as well. Why aren't there more bands out there that do that?

Apart from a small part of "Banished and Cast Into Fire" where the drumming is a bit incoherent (an otherwise great track with an underlying Mayhem feeling) I don't think Relics of Inner War has a bad moment. It has the appropriate length of half an hour too and you will not grow out of it very quickly, even the ending track "Discord" features a more quiet and ominous outro to finish the record, that doesn't last too long. Everyone else just uses two or three minute outros, or worse. Relics of Inner War is just the right amount of everything. I don't know where Cornigr would be today if it was still an active project but it is fortunate that this album has seen the light of day.

Track listing:

1. Shroud of Satan
2. Baptism Below
3. Rotten Embrace
4. Death Trimorph
5. Brand Carrier's Canticle
6. Jaws of Time
7. Banished and Cast into Fire
8. Discord

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