A Feast For Crows is the second offering from metal outfit Corpus Christi. They’re debut Darker Shades of White was released in 2009 shortly after signing with Victory Records and while it was a decent record, it failed to make an impact. After a summer of touring on the Scream The Prayer tour the band retooled their lineup, replacing four out of five band members … and heading back to the studio.
First we need to look back to Darker Shades of White, an album that most listeners felt was a little too simple and predictable. Most of the songs on the album were fast-paced metalcore type songs with clean vocals for the chorus and a typical breakdown near the end of the song. The defining element of their sound were the clean vocals, featuring a lower, southern-rock style instead of the more common higher-pitched style that is popular right now. It was good album, but nothing spectacular.
A Feast For Crows is noticeably better than the debut in many areas. The new drummer is a major upgrade; every song features multiple speeds, switching from ultra-fast double-pedal metal to methodical rock beats. The clean vocals are not as far out front as they were on Darker Shades, a slight adjustment in production that is welcomed. While the song structuring is an obvious improvement, the actual lyrics tend to be generic and unoriginal.
Another noticeable addition is a heavier influence of southern rock. Jarrod’s clean vocals already had that southern rock feel but that was about the end of the influence on the debut record. Here we see a few songs really embrace that southern rock feel, especially on tracks “Little Miss Letyouknow” with a breakdown reminiscent of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Corpus Christi seems to be influenced by early 90’s grunge/alternative rock, the days of Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots. The comparisons to As I Lay Dying are pretty weak, Corpus Christi would fit better on a playlist featuring bands like The Showdown and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, and more accessible bands like Disciple and Demon Hunter. A Feast For Crows is not the heaviest sound, buts it’s solid metal.
I would say that the strongest elements on the album are the drumming and the guitar-work. Depending on what crowd they’re targeting you can say that the structuring of the songs is adequate as well, the songs are catchy and feature a clear statement of the bands faith. The lyrics though, are the weakest aspect in my opinion. They are a little bit amateur and sometimes corny; gang vocals shouting “Here come the sharks” on the track “Blood in the Water” which repeats the line “The ship is going down, we’re all gonna die” just seems a little forced to me. Two of the most memorable tracks would be “Monuments” featuring a chorus that is super-catchy and some creative guitar sweeps and Betrayed Redemption with it’s barrage of double-kick and driving verses.
After the instrumental track Windwalker Corpus Christi continued with the slowed pace on Broken Man, a track that features the singer asking “can You heal a broken man?” The most notable feature on this track is the echoing vocals that sound like they just came from Soundgarden’s hit Black Hole Sun. It’s moments like this in the album when I wonder who this album is aimed at reaching, gimmicks like that seem to move this band away from more underground metal acts, and more towards radio-rock fans.
OVERALL Corpus Christi is definitely finding their sound, embracing the rock/southern-rock that seems natural for them. A Feast For Crows is a fun record, good filler for your playlists but I don’t think it shows a lot of potential for Album of the Year. The overall tone of the record feels forced and the lyrics can be a bit goofy at times. A fine record for fans looking for an outright Christian message combined with breakdown-laden metalcore, but for longtime heavy music fans this is still too generic and predictable.