Album review: Chaos over Cosmos - The Silver Lining Between the Stars (2021)
CHAOS OVER COSMOS is a remarkable international project that rides the line between the more technical prog metal and the more aggressive death metal which now reaches its third chapter with the album The Silver Lining Between the Stars, slated for release August 1st. At the helm of the project is the extraordinary Polish guitarist Rafal Bowman, accompanied on this occasion by the American singer KC Lyon (with guest vocals from Keaton Lyon on The Sins Between the Stars), and once again as evidenced by the title the theme of the album is aimed at science fiction, but even without this clue the choice of timbres for the guitar and keyboards with their cold synthetic nuances are capable by themselves to provide a feel of the depths of space.
In my review of the previous work from CHAOS OVER COSMOS https://www.progblog.co.uk/chaosocosmosultimatemultiverse/4594925764 I indicated as references ANDROMEDA’s Extension of the Wish for the prog metal part and for Bowman's style as a guitarist, while for the death metal part and the album theme I had referred to The Jester Race by IN FLAMES. These references are still valid for this new album, but the growth from both a compositional and technical point of view is so great that the comparisons begin to feel a bit constrained and do not do justice to the work done by the artists since the last release.
From the very first notes, the striking thing is Bowman's extraordinary quality as a guitarist. It is not only for the speed with which he is able to play, there are many fast guitarists who however treat their parts as exercises and excuses to show off: not so Bowman, who manages to envelop the listener in a cascade of notes, fascinating and never boring, and to guide him along the tracks. His touch is fluid, fast and precise and he has made me think of running water several times, even if I rarely let myself go to such poetic observations.
Even in the rhythmic parts the growth is noticeable. The arrangements are always very direct and never go deeper than a few layers, but the rhythmic structure is much more complex and articulated than in the past. There is much more variety in the flow of the tracks: even if the pace is generally very sustained, the constant switch between more broken sections and other more linear ones gives the sensation of stops and starts that manage to keep the interest alive until the end.
KC Lyon, for his part, excellently plays its role as singer in the more explicitly death metal sections. While not really a field in which I can claim to be an expert, over the years I have heard enough examples of scream and growl done badly to feel capable of affirming that he is quite adept at this technique. Although I think the comparison with IN FLAMES is still valid in his case, on more than one occasion he also reminded me of PERIPHERY probably thanks to the deeper and darker tone of his voice than that of many other singers specialized in death metal. Even on the rare occasions in which he deals with passages with a clean voice, he demonstrates good control and precision: in my opinion he is a great addition to the project.
Many of the best sides that I have identified in this album are in my opinion perfectly exemplified in the last song, The Sins Between the Stars, which in its 10 minutes manages to condense everything that makes the project interesting and remarkable and keep a slightly slower pace, but as a whole this album shows a great promise in its genre.
While I was extremely impressed with the leap in quality of this new album, there are some things that didn't entirely satisfy me. The thing that is more difficult for me to get along with is the drum machine: on the one hand I recognize that the quality, especially from the point of view of the composition of the parts, has definitely improved compared to The Ultimate Multiverse but to my ear it still sounds too flat and unnatural. Over the years I have had the good fortune to listen or play with drummers with a splendid touch and the ability to contribute to compositions with the variety they can bring with their instrument, and I miss it on this album. As for the guitar, the only observation I would feel like making is that the choice of timbres is appropriate for the pieces and can be recognized as part of Bowman's style, but perhaps in certain passages the choice of warmer or organic sounds could further contribute to the variety of compositions.... but these might be just my tastes as a prog rock guitar player so maybe can be dismissed as such.
With this new chapter of its history, CHAOS OVER COSMOS has in my opinion reached such a level that I feel I can move from simple listening advice to fans of more technical death metal to a heartfelt invitation to give this project a chance. For fans of ANDROMEDA-style progressive metal there is the possibility to draw many moments of good music from this album, although perhaps it is not the most suitable proposal for those who do not have at least a little appreciation for death metal.
Buy the album here