Progressive metal project CHAOS OVER COSMOS are back this year with a new album, “The Silver Lining Between the Stars.” This is their third release and the first one with American vocalist KC Lyon. The album will be released independently on August 1st, 2021, and it is by far their heaviest and most technical offering to date.
Taking inspiration from technical death metal, metalcore, modern prog metal, and the Scandinavian melodeath scene, the songs are very guitar-oriented and feature a lot of shredding and solos. Opening track “Violent Equilibrium” makes this direction abundantly clear as guitar melodies overlap with what sounds and feels like programmed drums, to create a big wall of sound. A bit later, harsh vocals come in to complete the formula but unfortunately, these sound generic and don’t add any dynamics to the song. More or less the same can be said about the following track, “The Last Man in Orbit,” as there is little to no variation to the tempo. Some spacey keys come in to brighten up and add some melody to the last minute of the song.
“Eternal Return” is the album’s instrumental track and follows the same pattern of noodling guitar melodies on top of sampled drums with some atmospheric keys in the background for a bit of texture. Track four, “Control ZED,” benefits from having the vocals in the forefront which makes for a nice change of pace and feel. Since mastermind Rafal Bowman has decided to move away from the synth melodies and atmospheric feel of “The Ultimate Multiverse” and try his hand at the gloomy and dark world of technical death metal, I have to admit that I miss the keyboard harmonies and Joshua Radcliff’s clean vocals that counterbalanced the grittiness of the guitar. With this new sound, all the instruments and vocals move in the same direction and there isn’t the same ebb and flow to the music.
The last track, “The Sins Between the Stars,” is also the most diverse musical offering on this album. It starts with synths and drums before some clean vocals come in. The peacefulness of the beginning is a great counterpoint not only to the other tracks but also to the way the song continues, as a burst of screamed vocals and powerful drums take over. The overlapping of cleans and growls adds to the drama and intensity of the music, before it dips down to the same serene melody as the beginning, creating that ebb and flow movement that I mentioned is missing from this album. The instrumental mid-section showcases the songwriting skills of Rafal Bowman, as it makes the listener feel a sensation of being rocked by ocean waves. This is a complex piece of music that makes me wish the rest of the songs had this dynamic running through them, instead of being linear.
All-in-all, this is an album that, while is very technical in what it delivers, at the same time lacks the emotional undertone that would make it easier to connect to. I am sure that guitar players (or guitar aficionados) will have a better understanding of these songs and thus appreciate them at a higher level than I do. Nonetheless, I can acknowledge and support an artist’s need for experimentation and recognize the music for what is it – a darker and heavier way of expressing their creativity.
Written by Andrea Crow
1. Violent Equilibrium
2. The Last Man in Orbit
3. Eternal Return (instrumental)
4. Control ZED
5. The Sins Between the Stars
KC Lyon – vocals, lyrics, songwriting
Rafal Bowman – guitars, synths, drum programming, songwriting
Nekkomix Studio – mix/mastering