Review: “A Dream if Ever There Was One” by Chaos Over Cosmos

Continuing down a left hand path of Progressive Metal with flourishes of both  Technical and Melodic Death Metal they began with their last album “The Silver Lining Between the Stars” are Chaos Over Cosmos with their fourth full length “A Dream if Ever There Was One“. The new record is actually the second chapter of a new writing partnership as American vocalist KC Lyon, (who now fills the former shoes of the very talented Joshua Ratcliff) joins Polish multi instrumentalist Rafal Bowman (guitars, synths, drum programming, songwriting) for the second time but even though the partnership has changed, some things will undoubtedly remain the same. The album comprises ten cuts in total with six new jigsaw puzzle pieces followed by four older cuts that have new vocals, edits and effects as well as remastering, which makes perfect sense as new vocals generally mean the music needs to be adjusted to allow the right timings for them.

In Chaos Over Cosmos, Rafal Bowman has created a studio project known for Science Fiction themes and “A Dream if Ever There Was One” is as rich in these as Blade Runner or Dune. Vibrant technical soloing brings opening instrumental “Continuum” to life with the energy of a caffeine bomb, the drum machine setting a metronomic breakneck pace and Bowman finding the dexterity to keep up in sublime fashion. The rhythms hit hard with stuccato riff infestations in similar territory to August Burns Red, Erra and Intronaut while the leads are nothing short of majestic in style, grace and execution. Single “Fire-Eater” then ushers in the vocals while having atmosphere from synths that add a swirling darkness, the speed and intensity of it creating an unstoppable force despite approaching an eight minute duration. The intricacies are mind blowing with KC Lyon able to weight is vocals perfectly and manage to somehow get Bowman to calm down for long enough to let him execute them before the next rampage. Darker synths being some 80s vibes to “Navigating by Moonlight” which finds the pair joined by Keaton Lyon and the brothers go toe to toe vocally with heartfelt lyrics about not being afraid to die but being afraid to live, something which resonates. Once again the technical soloing is mesmerising and while never reaching the point where the solo is too much, over the top flamboyant or detrimental to the song, which is testament to the song writing itself. As a DIY project there is the lack of a producer to remind that sometimes less can be more if that is something that is needed to be said. The artillery shelling from the drum machine continues at pace and gives an industrial tinge to “A Mantra of Oppression“, KC Lyon impressing on this one in particular as Bowman produces sweeping solos that defy gravity in a couple of extended instrumental passages. There are a couple of points in each track where there is the feeling of Nintendocore bands stylings with the way the synths are toned and this one is no different. It works incredibly well here giving a nostalgic feel for classic video games like Final Fantasy, intentionally or otherwise. 40 seconds of ambience to finish the track is a very well thought out moment, breaking the relentlessness of the soundscape and allowing a moment of calm reflection before returning to the vibrance with “Ebb and Flow[ers]“. Another high energy piece that finds Bowman working overtime, the dissonant moments are stunning but a couple of moments of well placed melody help lift it with a longer duration. The guitar layering in these songs is perfectly balanced, the fast paced melodies the soundscape to work by Asimov or Bradbury, matching the level of maticulus detail that the writers put in stride for stride with the instrumentation. Closer “Melatonin” serves as a breaking point for the new material, a short instrumental transitional piece that leaves you gazing into the middle distance with awe struck wonder [8.5/10]

  1. Continuum
  2. Fire-eater
  3. Navigating by Moonlight (ft. Keaton Lyon)
  4. A Mantra of Oppression
  5. Ebb and Flow[ers]
  6. Melatonin
  7. Cascading Darkness – We Will [re]Seed
  8. Consumed – Two Cannot [re]Pair
  9. Worlds Apart – You Must [re]Build
  10. Asimov

A Dream if Ever There Was One” by Chaos Over Cosmos is out 9th November 2022 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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