An interesting opening to an album, “Space Mead” showcases KOSM’s chugging guitar riffs alongside high pitched male vocals set to an otherworldly science-fiction theme. Of course, it comes as no surprise to to discover that this progressive metal band are Canadian; the influence from Rush is obvious from the start, but there’s something heavier in there as well. The bass a lot more prominent in the mix, and the occasional growl from the vocal line sets it apart as a promisingly solid fusion of progressive rock and more extreme groove metal. It’s an opening track that piques interest, even if the little breakdown did nothing at all to the music and seemed fairly pointless for a song that is already six minutes long.
The rhythms throughout the next few tracks remain curious, which leaves a listener optimistic about what is to come: progressive, with sudden guitar harmonies giving way into groovy beat sections, and that’s what made them feel worth listening to more than anything else. The vocal lines are also complicated, but from the way it’s mixed they do feel just a little bit emotionless. The delivery isn’t what it could be to make the singer not sound bored throughout half of the song, particularly in “Cosmonaut”, the album’s title track. The band could also benefit from a bit more variation in the sound: throughout the first part of the album, the instrumentation remains pretty much the same, and there’s little variation in the sound of those instruments as well. Most of the variation comes in the rhythm section, and as any band with so much of a Rush influence should do, it’s definitely an album that drummers will particularly enjoy.
Thankfully, halfway through the album “Farseer” comes in as a slightly more melodic song as a break from several songs that, whilst exhibiting great musicianship, just sounded too much alike from each other. That is, the verses of the song allowed for that break to happen, but the choruses come back in with the same synchronised guitar harmonies and groovy breakdowns that were fun several songs ago, but now by this point just begin to blend together like Rush meets Avenged Sevenfold with the backing section of Mastodon. There simply doesn’t feel like there is enough in the music that hasn’t been done before as much as the album deserves to really stand out as the enjoyably progressive sci-fi masterpiece that it could be. “Ancient Heart” proves this point again, with hugely interesting rhythmic beginning before, after less than a minute, the rest of the song kicks in and makes the listener wonder if the track changed at all, or if this is merely an extension of the previous song.
“Fiefdom in the Sky” actually does provide some variation for the latter part of the album, but at this point it’s worth wondering if it shouldn’t have been placed earlier in the album. Then again, it’s such a short piece that it feels more like an introduction for the next track, “Omnipresence”, which also begins promisingly before diving back into what the album has already done before. By the end of the album, “Wza-Y’ei” mixes things up a little better with a nice fusion of clean and screamed vocals that does make the listener want to hear more, which is a good touch for the end of an album, but not enough to make me want to play the album again.
It's not wholly negative; as previously stated: the musicianship is good, and the songs are interesting enough for the most part, just simply too much alike each other. For those who enjoy some fantasy and space themes in your music, KOSM definitely show enough potential with this release to be a band that should be on your scopes. With the chance to allow their song-writing to develop and expand more, they’re a band that could easily release an album that will blow audiences away. Unfortunately, this album just didn’t feel like that, but the potential is apparent.
Cosmonaut is self released on the 16th of November