Nekkomix Studio—mix/mastering. Released 20 June 2020.
- Joshua Ratcliff—Vocals, lyrics, songwriting
- Rafal Bowman—Guitars, synths, drum programming, songwriting
- Cascading darkness
- One hundred
- Worlds apart
- We will not fall
- Asimov (instrumental)
Rafal Bowman, guitarist (and all-round musical genius) with Chaos over Cosmos contacted me in May 2020 inviting me to review their then-forthcoming album The Ultimate Multiverse. The Covid-19 pandemic had just hit and all of our lives got turned upside down and we began to worry that we might die just shopping for food. Chaos over this small corner of the cosmos, indeed. And then my mother died. Two years later, I’m reviewing records again.
Chaos over Cosmos are a two-man progressive metal / technical melodic death metal / electronic / progressive metalcore collaboration from Poland and Australia.
“Cascading darkness” (track 1) opens with a widdly guitar solo and a driving, thrashing riff with keyboard undercurrents. It’s straight out of the Dream Theater playbook, but don’t let that deceive you. About a minute in, Ratcliff’s gruff vocals take things in a more melodic death metal direction. The breakdown at 2′ 21″ provides a well-deserved break before a super melodic chorus kicks in. Stop—turn—build and we’re heading back to the primary riff, with dual clean and gruff vocals as the song twists and turns down new avenues, some well-played and welcome guitar shredding before a playful jaunt to the end of the track. This is a great start!
“One hundred” (track 2)’s atmospheric start—rain and thunder—gives way for a throbbing and bell-like electronic opening (think Depeche Mode) that is soon joined by pounding guitar and drums (think Rammstein) before settling into a clicking, thumping verse and almost whispered recitative-style vocals. This is a wonderfully creative song, full of drama, melody, variety and rhythm.
“Worlds apart” (track 3) is another driving song with an unpredictable, technical-death-metal-style rhythm (think Meshuggah) that like the songs before it morphs and twists to explore new territories. As heavy as this song is, there is a central melody that pulls it together.
“Consumed” (track 4) slows things down a little with a single string melody that opens into a heavy, pounding riff that twists into a fast sparking riff. Fast arpeggios, space-like keyboard chords, blast beats, clean, soaring vocals, this song has it all. Then through the other end of this endless metal meteor shower soft keyboard chords hang in the air like cosmic clouds while the tumult slowly builds again around breathy, growling vocals. This is Jean-Michel Jarre meets Rammstein.
“We will not fall” (track 5) blows in on the sound of a chilly arctic wind while an organ solo beckons drums, guitar and bass which pound like someone banging on a door. A metronomic rhymth carries this song with screaming death metal vocals beneath a gentle melody. After a full-on thrashing scream we’re back to the arctic wind and organ, joined by interweaving vocals, a rather Devin Townsend-like middle-eight and … the metronome is back on, Widdle, widdle, thrash, thrash, scream, scream… wind effects to see us out. What a journey!
The final track “Asimov” (track 6) is an instrumental that is probably about as close as this album gets to what many consider to be a quintessential prog metal style track. Solos over galloping riffs, changing time signatures, different movements and atmospheres, recurring themes that twist and then it’s done. Quite unexpectedly the song staggers to a close and then ends, as if someone has pulled out the guitar cord and walked off stage.
It’s maybe a cliché that a lot of progressive metal comprises little more than a paint-by-numbers approach to widdling their way through a guitar grimoire of scales and modes on a self-indulgent journey of mediocrity.
Well, the good news is that you’ll not find any of that here. While the final track comes closest it’s still a good few stages of separation on the family tree of prog—fourth cousin once removed. This album has integrity, creativity, depth and breadth. The songs are heavy, melodic, engaging and… simply fabulous. I could listen to this album again and again. Which is funny because that is exactly what I have been doing.
Review score: 95%
Rafal Bown, guitarist (and much more) with Chaos over Cosmos contacted me in May 2020 inviting me to review their forthcoming album The Ultimate Multiverse. The Covid-19 pandemic had not long hit and then my mother died. Two years later, I’m reviewing records again.
I have no connections to Chaos over Cosmos. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Thanks Rafal and Joshua.
Many thanks to Chaos over Cosmos for creating fresh, exciting music.