Old Corpse Road - On Ghastly Shores Lays The Wreckage Of Our Lore

Key Facts

Country: 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
Genre: Folkloric Black Metal
Release Date: 15th May 2020
Record Label(s): Trollzorn Records

Band Members

The Dreamer - Drums, Vocals
The Bearer - Guitars, Vocals
The Wanderer - Bass, Vocals (spoken word)
The Revenant - Guitars, Vocals
The Watcher - Keyboards, Vocals

Old Corpse Road - Demons Of The Farne

Rating (out of 5🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
Favourite Track(s): Black Ship, Demons Of The Farne, Sea Fire, The Ghosts Of Ruinous Dunstanburgh Castle

Whilst I was busy getting wrapped up in the throes of fellow English black metal adventurers  Winterfylleth's The Reckoning Dawn, this stunning album slipped under the radar, until now! I have known about Old Corpse Road for a few years but hadn't listened to them much in any great detail, and I will happily admit that I am a damned fool and have missed out considerably. Yet again an English black metal band have released a stunning album this year and On Ghastly Shores Lays The Wreckage Of Our Lore (which I'm abbreviating to OGSLWOL, for obvious reasons), is a stunningly dark and symphonic journey of black metal music. Delving into the old and the new and bringing the elements together for a haunting and folklore laden album that will have you wanting to know the stories behind the songs.

Musically, my first impressions are that this is black metal on a grand stage. Taking some of symphonic melodies of Dimmu Borgir, albeit more piano and synth focused and mixing it with the aggression Immortal to create a beast incarnate. I'm also reminded of very early Cradle Of Filth, except it has been written and constructed to a much higher standard. The imagery is what strikes me most about the album, the UK's coastlines are often some of the most beautiful places, but many have a harrowing and haunting past. With this in mind, I believe the band have really captured this haunting aura with every song, as the sea is a cruel mistress and will take you if you are unwise enough to think you're better than her. The idea of a ghostly Black Ship, floating upon aggressive, storm risen waves is very vivid in my mind, and with the lament that is As Waves Devour Their Carcasses, the world the band have created is very immersive. The song Black Ship feels more like a classical piece with a foreboding organ (akin to the one Davie Jones plays in The Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), with multiple movements to accentuate elements of this ship's story. Of course the other song that outdoes this is The Ghosts Of Ruinous Dunstanburgh Castle, which also has a very epic, classical symphony feel. I won't go too much into the history of the castle, but upon further reading it has an interesting story. The song itself is based upon Sir Guy The Seeker, a Northumbrian folklore tale associated with the castle;

"Different versions of the story vary slightly in their details, but typically involve a knight, Sir Guy, arriving at Dunstanburgh Castle, where he was met by a wizard and led inside. There he comes across a noble lady imprisoned inside a crystal tomb and guarded by a sleeping army. The wizard offers Guy a choice of either a sword or a hunting horn to help free the lady; he incorrectly chooses the horn, which wakes the sleeping knights. Sir Guy finds himself outside Dunstanburgh Castle, and spends the rest of his life attempting to find a way back inside." (Oswald, et al., 2006)

I believe the song captures the eeriness of the castle and the emotions involved with this intriguing folktale. For the album as a whole, each song has been phenomenally composed, providing and equal mix of raw aggression with delicate melodies and haunting atmospheres that accentuate the stories that are being told through the lyrics. Overall, I believe the album is incredible, it has everything that I love; stories, crushing riffs, beautiful melodies and an unforgettable atmosphere! This album has been an enjoyable experience that puts me on the haunted shores of this Satanic Isle, for a contextual and circumstantial listen I will have to listen to this album on the beach in future to really soak up the vibe.

From a production standpoint, it is a very raw album, which adds a multitude of layers of texture to the already highly atmospheric music. With the album being dark, the strangely warm and fuzziness to the album is a contrast that, in my opinion, works very well. With the sound effects of the sea and the light hissing in the background the album sounds like it has been around for decades. This effect just adds to the album, with it being steeped in folklore and history. The distorted guitars are scratchy and distorted yet have a good mid to low range so it's not overly trebly. The drums sound a bit quiet but when you realise how spread out the overheads and toms are the thumping kick and pounding snare take up a good amount of the centre field and fill the mix with their thunderous rhythms. The bass tone, is very warm and supports the guitars whilst filling out the low end. My favourite parts however are the synths and organs, they add such a grand ornateness to the music and sound huge in the mix, filling out the top end and supporting the low end. Overall, this is a very interestingly produced album, with hallmarks of raw black metal with dives in and out to the more symphonic side of the genre.

I can't believe that this album nearly slipped under my radar! I've enjoyed every second immersed in this dark and turbulent world that OCR have created. I recommend that you do the same and let the Black Ship take you to the ghastly shores in which our lore lays in wreckage.

Old Corpse Road - On Ghastly Shores Lays The Wreckage Of Our Lore


Oswald, Alastair; Ashbee, Jeremy; Porteous, Katrina; Huntley, Jacqui, (2006), Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland: Archaeological, Architectural and Historical Investigations, London, UK: English Heritage. ISSN 1749-8775. 


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