Coral Cross's Coral Cross - 001 lies somewhere near a nexus of Norwegian black metal and goth-tinged post-punk and cold-wave. Some of those are words we don't use around here too often, and, for new readers, I'm not talking about "Norwegian." There's a punkish lilt to "The Coldest Steel Across Your Face Slides," and it may be in vocal delivery where Coral Cross veers furthest form metal territory. Jorge Elbrecht, better known for his work with the arts/pop collective Lansing-Dreiden and Violens, is behind the project, and he's known for the ethereal vocal style. More words we don't use around here. No matter—Coral Cross is a refreshing expression of metal.

The opening riff of "The Coldest Steal Across Your Face Slides" leads into thrash-y drumming overlaid with some of those ethereal vocals. Within a minute or two, you'll get the vibe—melody-driven black metal with a post-punk feel, something that Elbrecht calls "choral thrash." The spelling deviation from the band name seems a bit telling. There's definitely a chorus-y thing about Coral Cross, and some of the riffs and the vocals do have a watery feel (note the album art, too).

Often a mid-song break seems like a forced moment of reflection, a thing to wait out until it gets going again. The break on "Coldest Steel" doesn't really feel that way—things are back up and running pretty quickly. If there's an especially sub-aquatic thing going on, this is it. Afterwards, "Coldest Steel" heads in a new direction and a fade out finish—it seems as if a solid culmination might have been better, but the momentum got the better of it.

"Cold Steel" is the B-side of a 7". On side A, "With a Lancet" further explores the sound tested by "Cold Steel," perhaps with a bit bigger dose of black metal. It's good—the EP as a whole is promising—but for those who find trouble with the atypical vocal style, it might be a bit of a bigger issue on "With a Lancet." We'll see what comes next—for now, one show, an audio-visual performance that will feature drummer Lev Weinstein of Krallice, is scheduled for August.

Coral Cross is out on August 12 on Mexican Summer.

— Wyatt Marshall


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