Review: “Cosmos” by Navian

We started out talking about the vision we all had in mind of what we wanted to do this time around. How we wanted the instruments to sound, the way we wanted to orchestrate and arrange the music, how we wanted it to be played, what kind of energy and landscape we were looking to capture and how we wanted the production to reflect our music. We met each day for two weeks sketching out rough ideas and demos for a song a day. Then the process of selecting the pieces we wanted to develop into songs. It was a big part to have the pieces available on our phones, so when we were out-and-about we could listen to them and get a sense if it worked or not. It was often decided if the hook was memorable or if one of us had an idea on how to develop the track further. We feel like Cosmos has helped us solidify our expression and our voice. With our previous releases we have been at a stage where we still were looking for influences and still developing as a band. Now we have something that we all can look at and say, ‘this is Navian’. To work on really difficult arrangements, stuff it feels like we’ll never learn to master, and then spend numerous hours and finally master them anyhow. That feeling – a feeling of pure joy of through accomplishment, is indescribable. It is the driving force behind our music and something which we all love.  Maybe it could be compared to sports, like the sense of achievement that hits you when you score a crucial goal in the game” ~ Navian

Known for creating lush soundscapes of heavy riffs, cathartic melodies and interestingly nuanced technical rhythms, Navian met while taking a bachelor’s degree in contemporary music and were all working as session musicians in Oslo, Norway. Inspired by the likes of Animals As Leaders, Intervals and Polyphia to create their own Technical Melodies and hooks as well as a love of Nintendo for a new project, the trio Ola Donnem (Drums and Percussion), Alexander Espesth (Bass) and Martin Selen (Guitars, Synths & Programming) unveiled debut EP “Reset” to critical acclaim in 2019 before its release via Indie Recordings in 2020…

It’s been said before that instrumental records have to work twice as hard to stand out from the pack with no vocals to rely upon an no catchy chorus to sell and in the case of “Cosmos” this has been done by creating lush soundscapes in which to paint in the imagination in glorious technicolour and then fill it full of joyous little moments that make all the difference. The band have invested wisely in getting the finest sound quality, recording drums and percussion at Middle Farm Studios (Toska, Bury Tomorrow, No Worth Of Man) with Peter Miles and that little bit extra makes all the difference as they sound immense throughout. Like the score to an art house movie each song becomes a chapter in a heart warming tale with the highest degree of attention to detail paid to the smallest moments to keep the listener engaged and enthralled, the Jazz segment on “Ghost Stories” being an example of that kind of intriguing moment. “Temple” has a multi layered guitar attack as vibrant leads and short bursts of stunning solo burst from its seams like cracks of light through dark clouds creating uplifting moods with high paced energy and soaring melodies. The huge arena filling sounds of “Breeze” which orientates around a central groove with little outbursts in all directions is nothing short of masterful and then Mats Haugen of Circus Maximus arrives right on time with a guest solo on “Duchess” that is the absolute Chef’s kiss. As with their debut EP, Navian have captured the imagination with their blend of Instrumental Progressive Metal full of lush hooks and glorious melodies with little intricacies that mean that the music does all the talking and the quality of the record very much speaks for itself. The trio have pushed not only themselves but the envelope of Instrumental Progressive Metal itself as a genre with “Cosmos“, bringing themselves up to the high standards of their peers and challenging them to not only maintain but to evolve and improve. The hours spent in the rehearsal space an in the studio perfecting things to match their visions as musicians has paid off handsomely and for that as listeners we can only be eternally grateful [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Luna
  2. Ghost Stories
  3. Apricity
  4. Silver Lining
  5. Temple
  6. Breeze
  7. Duchess (ft. Mats Haugen of Circus Maximus)
  8. Cosmos

Cosmos” by Navian is out 19th November 2021 via Indie Recordings

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