REVIEW: Chaos Over Cosmos – A Dream If Ever There Was One

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While I’m an advocate of that particular zen type of music that puts a great emphasis on the empty space between the notes, I find a good deal of merit in its extreme polar opposite, as well. Sometimes, getting bulldozed by the music is just what the doctor ordered. The first impression after listening once through the fourth, independently released studio album of CHAOS OVER COSMOS, entitled “A Dream If Ever There Was One,” was a relatively close musical approximation of an amphetamine overdose. Obviously, I took it as a good sign. Released on October 9th, 2022, this 6-track tech-prog onslaught is a natural continuation of the approach demonstrated on those previous three CHAOS OVER COSMOS outings; the lyrics are characterized by science-fiction themes, dealing with the dark future of humanity, while the music is extremely brutal, highly technical, and virtuosic. CHAOS OVER COSMOS is the musical outlet of multi-instrumentalist Rafal Bowman from Krakow, Poland, with the vocals being provided by KC Lyon, who is from the United States. So, the music is very guitar-driven, resonating with the air of 6-string luminaries such as John Petrucci of DREAM THEATER, Michael Romeo of Symphony X, and Tosin Abasi of ANIMALS AS LEADERS, with a good, brutal twist reminiscent of Per Nilsson of SCAR SYMMETRY. Then, some of the fluid guitar legatos plunge into the jazzier realms, evoking the style of Allan Holdsworth, which obviously lures me to think of MESHUGGAH. The word, “intense,” may not even begin to approach how heavy the music sounds – and it’s just perfect!

In terms of studio albums, this offering is relatively short – just 40 minutes or so. As such, it gets straight to the point with the instrumental opener, “Continuum.” The song paints quite a clear picture of what’s to come: blistering tech-death riffs, delivered at breakneck speed – something that could make the less experienced listener feel somewhat dizzy in no time at all. When the vocalist joins the party, the music starts to sound even more brutal and intense. This is definitely not an album to put on for the odd occasion, I guess; it takes a special time and place, a particular mood, to be able to fully enjoy this sort of mayhem. However, when you have the mood for this sort of thing, it sounds delicious.

On repeated listens, after the initial shock has worn out, it is easier to hear subtle nuances in the music. On “Navigating By Moonlight,” the vocals are provided by KC‘s brother, Keaton Lyon, whose delivery resonates perhaps with a tad more metalcore-ish aura. Then, at its most progressive, on “Ebb and Flow(ers),” the album throws in some exquisite synth soundscapes, whereas “Melatonin” ups the ante with even more synths, flirting quite openly with the vintage aesthetics of the 1980s. After a few spins, you might feel tempted to check out those previous studio offerings too.

A Dream If Ever There Was One” is a short sprint across the progressive and brutal tech-death landscape. Yes, the album length is closer to the early vinyl era standards but, then again, one could argue that even the most seasoned tech-death aficionados might have a hard time digesting much more of such overindulgent guitar shredding. That said, in just the right frame of mind, it should not be that hard to listen to this gem on repeat, over and over again.

Written by Jani Lehtinen

Tracklist

  1. Continuum (instrumental)
  2. Fire-Eater
  3. Navigating By Moonlight
  4. A Mantra of Oppression
  5. Ebb and Flow(ers)
  6. Melatonin (instrumental)

Lineup

Rafal Bowman – guitars

KC Lyon – vocals

Label

Independent

Links

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Bandcamp

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