Chaos Over Cosmos may not be a household name, but the band is quietly building an exceptional discography. The band’s music is self described as Sci-Fi progressive metal. Their unique sound features a mix of shred guitar, djent, progressive rock, technical metal, power metal and progressive metal. The music of Chaos Over Cosmos is guitar driven. The sound is complimented by subtle, but highly effective, doses of atmospheric synthesizers. The music has a futuristic and cinematic quality, thus the “Sci-Fi” branding. Another unique aspect of the band is the choice of vocalists. Thus far each album has featured a different vocalist. Each vocalist is also responsible for the album’s lyrics. The one constant from album to album is band co-founder Rafal Bowman. Bowman provides the albums instrumentation and is the band’s main songwriter. To date there have produced three albums featuring three very different vocalists. Each vocalist has brought something fresh and new to the music of Chaos Over Cosmos. I do have a favorite among the three, but each has made strong contributions to the albums.
One of the biggest strengths of the band is the virtuoso guitar playing of Rafal Bowman. One listen to any of the band’s albums and it is immediately clear how talented he is on the fretboard. But just as important, Bowman is equally talented as a songwriter. His fretboard pyrotechnics never get in the way of the songs. Each song is built on a well constructed musical foundation. The complex rhythms interweave synergistically with his ultra fluid and highly technical lead guitar licks. Each component complements the other, making the songs stronger and more dynamic as a result. When complexity meets melody and structure good things happen musically.
The band’s latest album, The Silver Lining Between The Stars, is an absolute guitar shred fest. There is so much intricate guitar work going on, rhythmically and from a lead guitar standpoint. Like previous Chaos Over Cosmos albums the newest release would work just as well as an instrumental album. There is more than enough going on musically to keep the songs interesting without the need for vocals. With each new release Bowman ups the ante more and more. Each new album sees an increase in the complexity of the compositions as well as the heaviness of the music. The heaviness is accentuated on each album by the differing approaches of each vocalist. The first album features highly melodic vocals. The second album brought in a variety of extreme metal vocals and melodic singing. The newest album features vocals that are even more extreme, with just a few instances of melodic singing.
The Silver Lining Between The Stars clocks in at an efficient thirty five minutes and eleven seconds. Throughout the album Bowman brings a more aggressive style of guitar play. The rhythms are heavier and faster. Bowman gives the listener quite an aural workout. His intense guitar riffage rarely lets up. He packs more then enough guitar riffs, licks and tricks to fill several albums. In the hands of other guitarists this approach would be much too much. Not so with Bowman. His style of guitar play is not shredding for the sake of showing off. Each riff and lick serves the song. Much credit must be given to Bowman. He absolutely burns up the fretboard song after song. Yet he wisely knows when to pull back just enough to allow each song time to breathe. He gives the listener a chance to catch their breath before he dives into another intense guitar groove or super fast and fluid lead break. Each song is densely layered with guitar and subtle synths, yet there is more than enough room for the vocals. The two areas never clash, but work together to better the songs.
The aggressive vocals of KC Lyon match well with the band’s new level of intensity. Lyon brings a bold, in your face vocal style akin to the vocal approach found in a good deal of metalcore bands. Lyon proves to be more than a one trick pony behind the microphone. His extreme metal vocal approach mixes and matches elements of the vocal styles of metalcore, black metal, death metal and industrial metal. Much credit must be given to Lyon. A lesser vocalist would get lost among the complex guitar pyrotechnics. He find his spots and makes bold vocal statements. The power of his vocals matching the intensity of the music. Lyon’s full throttle vocals are offset by occasions of melodic singing, adding additional dynamics to the songs. KC Lyon proves to be a great choice for the album. Apart from a few lyrics that come across in juvenile manner on one song, Lyons does a phenomenal job.
The Silver Lining Between The Stars is a thoroughly modern progressive metal album. The highly technical nature of the music and the extreme metal vocals may not appeal to every fan of the genre. Progressive metal has come a long way since the early days of Queensryche, Fates Warning and Dream Theater. Chaos Over Cosmos has been around for a short time, but they are producing extremely high quality progressive metal for the 21st century. The band takes the title of progressive metal very serious. Bowman pushes the music of Chaos Over Cosmos forward with each new release. There is a clear progression from album to album. The music grows heavier and more complex with each album, yet the band continues to put well crafted songs and melody as their foundation. Progressive metal is alive and well. Chaos Over Cosmos and band’s of their ilk are helping to push the genre forward. Check out the music of this wonderfully adventurous progressive metal band at their Bandcamp page. https://chaosovercosmos.bandcamp.com/