Chaos Over Cosmos is an interesting international project that places itself between progressive metal (with some power metal influences) and death metal. The band is formed by Polish guitarist Rafal Bowman and the Australian singer Joshua Ratcliff, who despite the distance managed to work together in the creation of the second chapter of this project, The Ultimate Multiverse, whose science fiction theme is well represented by the title of the songs but even more by a certain taste in the choice of the timbres of the guitars (especially during the solos) and synths that recall electronic ambient music.
While listening, the strongest initial reference I found was with Andromeda, especially the album Extension of the Wish from its first formation of 2001. This depends on the fact that the structure of the songs is very direct and rotates around Bowman's guitars, demonstrating all his skill in long and agile solos with cascades of extremely clean notes. This probably also brings the compositions closer to the power metal field, especially if bands like Sonata Arctica are taken into consideration, but the choice of timbres with their synthetic reflections, and the rhythmic structure, is in my opinion much closer to the first version of Andromeda.
The death metal component is carried by Ratcliff's singing, which alternates sections of scream with moments in which he sings clean, and by the rhythmic structure of some passages in which the bass assumes the structure of a pounding wall of sound typical of the genre; these two elements, combined with the science fiction theme, brought to my mind The Jester Race by In Flames, but I admit that in this area my knowledge is definitely not updated so the reference may not be the most fitting.
As mentioned above, from a structural point of view the pieces are very direct and do not have many layers; most of the progressive component is carried by the complex and refined rhythmic structure and by the frequent changes of tempo that follow one another in the pieces, even if in principle the pace is very sustained. The way Ratcliff goes from growl to a clean voice creates an interesting emotional contrast in the various sections of the songs, as well as the passage between the moments most related to the various styles listed above.
Among the six pieces I was particularly impressed by One Hundred, a song that has much more dynamic range than the rest of the album and whose refrain with the asynchrony between voice and lead guitar was particularly successful. However, I must admit that there are several things that have not convinced me about this album: some are undoubtedly linked to my personal tastes and therefore are not necessarily to be taken into consideration, but I believe that others can be shared by most.
If I had to indicate what I consider the weakest point of this production, it is the drum machine. There are excellent virtual instruments that can in some cases get so close to the natural tone that they are not evident, but in this case the drums consistently sounded false to my ears, in particular the sections most inspired by death metal (for example the beginning of We Will Not Fall), where he bass drum is reminiscent of a jackhammer and honestly put me off.
Bowman is an extraordinary and extremely skilled guitarist, but in some cases I had the feeling that he got a little carried away by the desire to demonstrate it and some solos seemed to me more a showcase of his (objectively excellent) qualities rather than a fundamental component of the song. Ratcliff, on the other hand, did not impress me as a particularly technical singer in his clean sections, on some occasions I had the feeling that he was trying to reach high notes not quite within his reach.
I am convinced that Chaos Over Cosmos could grow a lot if they also involved other dedicated musicians, especially in the rhythm section, but already I consider The Ultimate Multiverse a rather solid release that I would not hesitate to recommend to those who love the more technical kind of death metal and that could convince at least some of the Andromeda fans of Extension of the Wish.
Chaos Over Cosmos - The Ultimate Multiverse
The Ultimate Multiverse
Album review: Chaos Over Cosmos - The Ultimate Multiverse (2020)