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Track By Tracks: KOSM - Cosmonaut (2018)

1. Space Mead:

The album’s opener track is high energy and riff based, displaying both the aggressive nature of the music to come, while hinting at the more experimental elements of the music. While most of the track maintains a familiar hard-hitting metal feel, the chorus subtly begins to inject odd time signatures into the mix. Space Mead also introduces the listener to the core concept of the album: a cosmonaut’s transformative journey through time and space.

2. Cosmonaut:

The title track of the album dials back the intensity briefly, producing more bluesy classic rock inspired guitar riffing, and power-metal inspired vocal melodies. The song also introduces the listener to the protagonist of the album’s narrative: the cosmonaut. In this song, we see the cosmonaut railing against her Earthly confinement, yearning to become more than she is. To transcend, she must destroy those forces restraining her.

3. Colossus: 

In Colossus, the listener finally gets a taste of the progressive dimension of the music. The track is structured in two parts: a soft, flowing, and melodically rich first half, followed by an aggressive and feverishly odd-timed second half. Thematically, Colossus describes an encounter with a primordial being, blocking the cosmonaut’s path to the stars. While she escapes with her life, the encounter reveals the fragility of her mortal form.

4. Wolves Upon the Throne: 

Wolves Upon the Throne will be a highlight for lovers of prog and experimental genres. While the song swings between high energy choruses and restrained but brooding verses, a particular feature of the track is the bridge. Here, the guitars break off into a series of tapping riffs, continually alternating between time signatures with each bar. Though a facet of the concept, this track is less a narrative point, and more a rumination on the dangers of seeking power. “With great power, comes great responsibility” to quote Spiderman.

5. The Esoteric Order: 

Undoubtedly one of the most technical tracks on the album, the energy picks up substantially with The Esoteric Order. The Esoteric Order incorporates technical guitar riffs, dizzying drum fills, and soaring vocal melodies, intended to create something feeling both familiar and alien. Adrift in space, the cosmonaut becomes marooned at monastery in the stars. The order of this monastery offer to open the doors of the cosmonaut’s mind, unleashing the psychic power within. But at what cost?

6. Farseer: 

Farseer opens with a strange disorienting riff, launching the listener into a thoroughly progressive-metal track. This dark, atmospheric, and strangely timed track highlights the album’s tendency towards experimentation, and lends itself to the lyrical content of the song. Though never directly referenced in the song itself, the song is meant as a reference Lovecraft’s fictional lost city R’lyeh. In seeking to unlock the psychic potential of her mind, the cosmonaut’s mind has been violently thrust forward in time and space, showing her a vision of a Lovecraftian horror-scape.

7. Ancient Heart: 

Ancient Heart gives the listener a brief reprieve from the weirdness of the previous track, featuring a (mostly) melodic hook-laden chorus, and mid-tempo head-banging instrumentals. Here, the cosmonaut communes psychically with space-time-god Yog-Sothoth (borrowed from the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft), who at last grants her with the power to transcend her human form.

8. Fiefdom in the Sky: 

This interlude may catch some listeners off guard. Stripping away all instruments but guitar and vocals, Fiefdom in the Sky contrasts with the rest of the album as a soft and simple ballad. Aside from the somber vocals and acoustics, the listener can faintly hear electric guitar washed out with reverb, creating a strings-like effect. Like Wolves Upon the Throne, Fiefdom in the Sky is more of a reflection than an actual story point in the narrative. Blending together feudal and sci-fi imagery, this song is fundamentally about personal crisis, but also personal growth.

9. Omnipresence: 

This track will quickly snap listeners from any momentary calm achieved from the previous song. One of the heaviest and hard-driving songs on the album, Omnipresence blends sounds inspired by such diverse acts as Dream Theater, Mastodon, and Gojira. Having ascended beyond her human form, the cosmonaut is at last able to destroy those cosmic forces restraining her from attaining her innate potential. Indeed, this track is centred on themes of authority, power, and oppression.

10. Monarch:

Monarch, more than any other single track on the album, will take the listener on a journey. The song builds from a delicate melodic introduction, to a thundering Mastodon-esque middle section, finally culminating in an anthemic finale. The listener will hear a variety of sounds throughout Monarch, but the highlight of this track is undoubtedly the layered melodic vocals that permeate the song beginning to end. The forces of oppression in the cosmonaut’s journey are here personified in the form of an aged monarch upon as astral throne. The cosmonaut must attain emancipation through regicide.

11. Umbrakinesis:

The track opens with a swing-feel bass and drum riff, coupled with swelling reverb drenched guitars, but quickly blooms into an emotional power track. The song is a reference to Azathoth (taken from the fiction of HP Lovecraft), the slumbering creator-god who dreams the universe into existence. Making contact with this vast cosmic being, the universe is revealed as a malleable thought-projection, subject to the cosmonaut’s own will. Power now coupled with self-understanding, the cosmonaut is free to roam the universe, at last knowing her place within it.

12. Wza-Y’ei:

The final track on the album is characterized by dizzying drum patterns than nonetheless provide a flow that guides the listener through the final stretch of the record, coupled with guttural vocals, and heavy rhythmic guitar and bass. Listeners will also notice a cacophony of human voices layered just behind the instrumentals as the track draws to a close. Just as Space Mead introduces the album’s concept, Wza-Y’ei provides the summation of that concept. Wza-Y’ei is a fictional word (again borrowed from H.P. Lovecraft) in the language of the Old Ones. We interpret the meaning as something akin to “Om,” the essence of consciousness, and liberation of the mind.

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