Before the internet super highway was a thing veteran grind musicians Dave Witte (Burnt by the Sun, Human Remains) and Chris Dodge (Spazz) devise an unconventional alliance, accomplishing the recording of an album via back-and-forth tape trading, literally sending four track tapes FedEx from the East to the West Coast of North America for their project East West Blast Test. These days technological advances mean that FedEx need to look elsewhere to make their cash with projects like Chaos Over Cosmos able to collaborate far more easily and without the painstakingly long wait for the courier service to deliver the package. Chaos Over Cosmos is Polish and Australian project between two guys who have never met each other face to face but collaborate on Progressive Metal with Electronic and Melodic Technical Death Metal influences to create complex cuts that make for a challenging and rewarding listen. Often with such projects there is one multi instrumentalist mastermind, in this case Rafal Bowman, who handles guitars, synths, programming and songwriting and one person who carries out something that the other can’t. In this case that is Joshua Ratcliff, who performs vocals, inks lyrics and works on the songwriting. “The Ultimate Multiverse” is the duo’s first record together, 2018’s “The Unknown Voyage” was released with different singer, Javier Calderon from Spain.
When a song like “Cascading Darkness” appears, it makes a band like Chaos Over Cosmos a challenge to pin down stylistically as it’s a track that has absolutely everything and the kitchen sink in it. Breaking it down, there is the ethereal feel of Power Metal, the glorious gallop of bands like Protest The Hero, extended tapping sections, swathes of Science Fiction synths, the unclean vocal roar of a Demon trapped in the confines of Hell and a clean vocal play off in a harmonized fashion. It’s all done with a captivating energy and little moments that pop out of the mix over multiple listens and is in many ways a spellbinding opening cut. “One Hundred” then develops the atmospheric aspect, building from a torrential downpour though 80’s Dark Wave synth pop like the sound track to Blade Runner or Escape From New York before short runs of Progressive Metal riffs and a spoken word delivered in fine storytelling fashion. Midway through the track there is a burst into Progressive Death Metal with a triumphant roar and a wonderful vocal layering that uses the uncleans as a backing vocal for some cleaner parts before a ripper of a solo. “Worlds Apart” is less heavy on the synths, instead playing out like an August Burns Red cut with stacked polyrhythmic layers that showcase some serious skill, dexterity and thought process when it comes to the musicianship. There is fine balance here that makes some of the incredible virtuoso Technical guitar playing really shine by not overdoing things and the result is jaw dropping.
Having been mesmerized by “Worlds Apart“, in order to keep the record flowing “Consumed” has to stand up an be counted and it does exactly that. The extended instrumental introduction sets the stage and when the vocals start, the epic grandeur of the music is propelled to the next plain of existence. There are places here where the music of Chaos Over Cosmos, much like that of Solemnity, requires an auditorium of significant magnitude to give it the stage it needs. This needs somewhere like the Albert Hall or the Sydney Opera House to live up to its stature. Then the Death Metal growls of Ratcliff appear and as a Metal Head, you can’t help but crack a smile at the thought of a room full of dudes in tuxedos and ladies in expensive dresses at such a venue, wondering what the hell they’ve just heard when they’ve come out for a night of classical music. The unexpected blast beats that begin, coupled with its mournful synths and throat shredding vocals give “We Will Not Fall” the feel of a Nordic winter wasteland with touches of Black Metal in the soundscape. The guitars are still progressive and some of the lead flourishes border on Power Metal but there is an undercurrent of frenetic energy here which is dark, biting and raw. “Asimov” is a tip of the hat to the works of literary genius from American writer Isaac Asimov, particularly in the Science Fiction realms with a Jazzy Progressive meandering instrumental that gives bands like Intronaut a run for their money. It’s a fine way to finish a collection of songs with an average of an 8 minute runtime and by placing it at the end, it doesn’t cut the album in half [8.5/10]
- Cascading Darkness
- One Hundred
- Worlds Apart
- We Will Not Fall
“The Ultimate Multiverse” by Chaos Over Cosmos is out 20th June and available for pre-order over at bandcamp