|Musical Style: Industrial Metal||Produced By: Jonathan P. Stamets|
|Record Label: Youngside||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2010||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 50%|
|Running Time: 63:28|
Coriolis represents an industrial metal project of vocalist and guitarist/keyboardist Jonathan P. Stamets. Getting his start in 2002 under the original moniker Thundara, Stamets released a self-produced nine song demo prior to making the name change to Coriolis and signing with Psychoacoustix Records. The first full length Coriolis CD, self-titled and released in 2005, was a one man project in which the artist wrote and performed everything, while the second, The Endless Funeral, came out in 2010 on Youngside Records and proved a full band effort in featuring the contributions of drummer Jim Yanus and guitarist Dan Schultz.
Coriolis stays true to its industrial metal calling card on The Endless Funeral by taking metal based guitar riffs and fusing them with synthesizers, samplers and sequencers to create a sound that is dark and moody but very heavy at the same time. While I hesitate to invite direct comparison, Rammstein, KMFDM and Die Krupps are good points of reference to what is going on here. Christian bands that have made a mark on the industrial scene, of course, deserve mention as well, including Circle Of Dust, Klank and Generation, in addition to some of the more industrial influenced projects of Jimmy P. Brown such as Deliverance’s Assimilation and the first Fearful Symmetry CD, This Sad Veil Of Tears.
My history with Coriolis dates to the cover of “What A Joke” it contributed to the 2010 Deliverance tribute CD Temporary Insanity. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. In my review of Temporary Insanity, I described how Coriolis “made the song even better” by joining “swirling keyboards (with) what sounds like programmed drums and metal edged guitars to create an industrial based environs”. Unduly inspired, I promptly purchased The Endless Funeral and was underwhelmed the first couple of listens. Several times I set the CD aside for an extended period only to revisit it and come away with the same let down feeling.
So what is the problem? Well, it comes down to songwriting in that much of the material here lacks the melody and catchy hooks to maintain my interest long term. In other words, the songs failed to grab me, suffering from choruses that are repetitious, awkwardly constructed or even sing-song-ish. Which is disappointing, because I REALLY want to like The Endless Funeral and gave it every opportunity, but in the end I could not embrace its songs.
To understand my point check out the albums heavier material in that the likes of “Welcome To My World (Part 1)”, “Thank You” and “Same As It Ever Was” do not hold up as a result of their repetitive feel. Likewise, for a more keyboard heavy piece such as “All For One” and epic “See You In Hell” I find myself hitting the skip button more often than not. “The Endless Funeral” and “Weight Of The World” both showcase strong guitar riffs (it must be noted that the material here flows quite well during its verses) but chorus-wise also challenge my attention span.
Now, this does not mean the album does not have its good moments, which it does but when Coriolis branches out and approaches things from a different standpoint. Take a slower and more ethereal piece such as “Lies” or the equally haunting sounds of “Welcome To My World (Part 2)” and “Welcome To My World (Part 3)” to understand what the group is capable of in terms of creativity and inspiration. “Everything Must Go”, at the same time, is one of the few heavier pieces to hold up as a result of its animated chorus.
One aspect to The Endless Funeral that I like a LOT is the solid production values, which allow for walls of all out metal guitars (the project is enticingly heavy with Stamets and Schultz laying down some monster riffs) to be perfectly balanced with industrial style keyboards. Stamets proves expert in this area due to the manner in which he layers things with the needed “industrial strength electronics” (in terms of sequencers and samplers) without overdoing it in the process. He also puts in a strong performance vocally in nailing the low-key and gritty style often associated with industrial music think Till Lindermann of Rammstein).
Lyrically, The Endless Funeral proves a concept album that tells the artists story of his spiritual journey from his high school years to present. In the artists own words (in terms of the lyrical direction): “…it’s not always pretty and the path to maturity contains a lot of thorns. Rather than cutting those thorns to make the lyrics more “Christian friendly”, I left them in there so that people who are going through the same things, (such as anger/doubt towards God Himself) know they’re not alone”.1
Track By Track
Eerie keyboards carry the brief (2:03) distance of opener “Intro”.
“Welcome To My World (Part 1)” establishes an up-tempo milieu, maneuvering its verses with the rhythm guitar hammering in and out of the mix prior to breaking out in full form for a harshly done and resounding chorus. Keyboards uphold the songs instrumental moments. Lyric snippet:
Welcome to a world where everything you touch
Turns to gold
Welcome to a world that won't grow old
Welcome to a world where every glass is full
And overflowing and the fires here are warm and glowing
Welcome to my world
I'm on a journey and I enjoy the ride
There's always something better on the other side
I've got an open mind I've got and open heart
I'm on top of the world and I'm a world apart
A more aggressive stance is taken on “Than You”. Carried its distance by metal edged guitars, the song establishes a fixed environs as a commanding rhythm section and Stamets complementary raspy vocals play leading roles. Guitars carry the instrumental moments this time around.
Keyboards are the centerpiece of “All For One”. The song gives rise to some ominous flavorings, particularly for its verses as sequencers and samplers command the forefront of the mix. A guitar driven focus is maintained for a chorus of the sweeping in capacity. Lyric snippet:
All for one and one for all now; come undone; a hollow shell
All for one, I'm on my own now, if anyone's listening, save me from myself
What goes around comes around and we're bound to discover it; a new beginning
In a way it's a little bit profound
Every year living here changing gears gets easier (you know I'm lying)
Disarray: it's coming around
More power to you, you're turning away from me; I just can't stand it
As already referenced, the three previous tracks fail to stand out (in my opinion) due to lacking the notable chorus hooks that would lend to repeated play.
“Lies”, on the other hand, represents one of the albums better pieces. The song brings a light and airy feel - almost ethereal - feel as it slowly drifts its distance in mournfully done fashion. I particularly enjoy the instrumental run in which a guitar and flute (at least what sounds like one) trade off.
“Same As It Ever Was” represents a return to a heavier but more repetitive direction. Yes, plenty of weighty guitars and a driving emphasis but the chorus, once more, comes across a bit flat and leaves the song with an unremarkable feel as a result. Lyric snippet:
You've got an offer, got an agenda
I've got a feeling it's the same as it ever was
How could I say no? well if you say so...
I've gotta say it sounds the same as it ever was
We've got a problem, I'm catching on to you
You've got a plan, it's the same as it ever was
I'm not a puppet, you're not a leader
You're just a fraud, it's the same as it ever was
I hear you're a volunteer, (nowhere near)
Oh well, as if I can't tell, you've got something to sell
“Everything Must Go” delivers a nice touch of groove. The song highlights an element of variety, with keyboards covering its instrumental first minute and smoothly flowing verses. Guitars do not crash in until a chorus on the introspective side of things is obtained:
Back in the day, I can remember the smiles, and I'm sorry to say they've gone away for a while
And it's killing me slowly, I'm sure
Absorbing the pain that eats away at the core, its slowly opens a vein, and I can't take anymore
I am only a man
It's time to empty the shelves, it's time to throw out the past; get these memories out of my head
If I could sell it, I would, it'd be the sale of the year, everything must go in the end
All in all, one of my favorite pieces here.
“Welcome To My World (Part 2)” starts its first three minutes eerily to a quietly played guitar, slowly moving ahead as portent spoken word delivery carries its verses. When impetus picks up, it is for an every bit as inauspiciously done chorus. Second quality track in a row.
The nine minute epic “See You In Hell” is too long for its own good. Yes, some tracks are meant to be carried out into extended territory, but here I find my attention starting to wander after the first four or five minutes. Now, do not get me wrong in that there are some good moments here (such as the tepidly done introduction), but not enough to justify persevering through the songs entire length. Again, the needed element of melody is missing. Lyric snippet:
I want to run, I want to hide; tough luck, I can't escape what's inside
Another man, I never can get the upper hand
A missing link, or just a chink in the armor I built against the world?
You bring me down when you're around, my little parasite
Make yourself right at home; by myself, not alone
I've become Mr. Hyde; can't escape what's inside
I'm on the brink; I want to think for myself without your influence
Another day to be betrayed, you molded me like clay
You won't win, let it begin; I'm gonna fight you tooth and nail
So lock and load, or hit the road; you're going to fail
The albums final three tracks combine for nearly 22 minutes of music. Of course, you cannot always judge a song by its length, but if the music is not of high quality then it is all for naught.
“The Endless Funeral” presents with its good and not so good moments. The songs strength resides in a catchy (almost anthem-like) guitar riff that borders on the mesmerizing. Drawback, however, comes in the form of a chorus giving rise to an almost awkwardly done proclivity. Once more, there is not here for things to hold up under repeated play. Lyric snippet:
Here we go again, I'm getting used to dealing with the pain
Here we go again, the future is predictable
Will it ever end? that's a stupid question, asked in vain
Will it ever end? thank God we're so adaptable
We don't appreciate the water 'til it turns to ice
Don't appreciate the warmth until we feel the frost
We don't appreciate the freedom 'till we pay the price
Don't appreciate the price until we count the cost
Taken for granted, I still never see what's in front of me
And when it arrives, it rearranges our lives
We may not like it, but we survive
“Weight Of The World” follows a similar heading. The song carries itself well during its verses - another guitar riff of a prevailing variety - but a disjointed chorus ultimately prevents things from reaching there potential. A very well done instrumental break features a cool joining of guitars and woodwinds.
One of the albums highlights is the eight and a half minute “Welcome To My World (Part 3)”. The song slowly moves its length ethereally with a grand piano in the backdrop, atmospheric but with melody in just the right amount to pull you in. Stamets aligns with the swarthy setting by singing in a lower register. Interestingly, things stop dead in there tracks after six minutes but later pick up in the form of a new age flavored instrumental.
To sum up I cannot get into much of the material on The Endless Funeral. Yes, there are some good moments here in several choice tracks and solid band performance, but too often I find myself hitting the skip button in frustration. That being said, there is certainly not a lack of talent at hand; and when further factoring in the quality of the “What A Joke” cover, Coriolis proves it can pull things off when given good material to work with. With this in mind, I anticipate a greatly improved follow up effort from Coriolis.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Intro” (2:03), “Welcome To My World” (Part 1) (3:27), “Thank You” (4:09), “All For One” (3:59), “Lies” (5:31), “Same As It Ever Was” (3:22), “Everything Must Go” (4:17), “Welcome To My World” (Part 2) (5:34), “See You In Hell” (9:10), “The Endless Funeral” (6:26), “Weight Of The World” (6:57), “Welcome To My World (Part 3)” (8:27)
Jonathan P. Stamets - Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Programming & Pennywhistles
Dan Schultz - Guitars
Jim Yanus - Drums & Programming
1. Gatto, Chris. “Coriolis” Refusing The Mold”. Heaven’s Metal 88 (2011): 12-13.