Release Date: 7 Feb 2020
Sites: Facebook | Instagram
I seem to be reviewing rather a lot of Brazilian albums lately: three last week and one more today. I don't know much about Corona Nimbus but they're an alternative rock band from Teresina in northeastern Brazil. Júlio Baros and Junior Vieira founded the group and may or may not play all instruments here as I'm unable to find a band roster; certainly they both sing. This is their debut album and it was preceded by a pair of singles, both of which are represented here, so this is their entire output.
Most importantly, their material is highly varied, as deep and interesting as the gloriously immersive cover art by Wildner Lima. Cosmic Brew opens up the album with a heady brew of genres, starting proggy but shifting through NDH into a grungy alternate rock song: Vangelis into Rammstein into Nirvana. The riffs are solid and the hooks are decent, but it's the little touches I like most here: the way the keyboards elevate the song and especially how a prominent bass makes me grin at points.
There's so much in that one, apparently effortless, song that Corona Nimbus feel the need to throw in an interlude after it. It's called Abyss and it's a very warm and beautiful string led piece to prompt us to lower our guards before they heavy up for Throw Me at Sea. For thirty seconds, the latter is stoner metal but then it goes a little nu with shouty vocals and distorted guitars. I say a little because it remains thoughtful rather than angry and it isn't likely to piss off true metalheads. I can see the band really cutting loose on stage to this one.
And so we go, most of these songs taking us to new places. Paradise turns a brief Yes-style intro into a bouncy stoner rock song. Clash of Titans seems angry but restrained, kind of like the polite bile of The Wall-era Floyd. I don't really know how to describe Lights Out: a dark Radiohead for a while, I guess, but then indie rock for which I have no comparison. Beyond Chaos is elevated by some nice experimental slide. Uterearth is space rock, as if the band wants to turn into Hawkwind, especially with artificial vinyl pops.
Everything here is interesting at the very least but I think it gets better as it runs on. My favourite tracks come late in the album, with Flying Lamp and The Fallen, a killer double bill at eight and nine on the track listing.
Flying Lamp has some fantastic dynamics, mixing elegant piano work with hard stoner riffs, kicking off with electronica until it heavies up. There's that wonderful roaming bass again behind pleasant guitar chords and everything is layered really nicely. It's the longest instrumental piece here but it tells a story nonetheless.
The Fallen immediately wants to match it, but with vocals. It features some exquisite tones, even when it kicks into gear. The bass is prominent again, especially in a quiet section midway. Like Flying Lamp, it knows when to be quiet and when to be loud and when to kind of mix the two together to create something thoroughly original.
Surprisingly, the song I like least is the last one, Path to Self, which was one of those singles. I prefer it here as audio than on video, because there's nothing to distract from what the musicians are doing. I'm not sure what the lovely ladies are doing in the video but they do distract! This song is notable for adding a death growl at one point, among mostly clean vocals, because they don't do that anywhere else on this album, but the song still left me dry.
I don't know what they're putting in the water down in Brazil nowadays but I like the variety I'm hearing. Bands like Atomic Time, Candeiia and Sepultura have nothing in common except their nationality and their quality and others like Tuatha de Danann, Decimator and Corona Nimbus flesh out that diversity really well. I can't help but wonder what Brazilian gem I'm going to find in another week or two.