Kosm - Eyes on the Inside - (9.5/10)
Published on July 6, 2019
Genre:Progressive Metal / Progressive Death
Kosm is a progressive metal act from Vancouver, Canada… a strikingly vicious one! I came across these guys just about a week ago as a completely random occurrence and since then, their latest EP “Eyes on The Inside” has been on constant repeat for multiple times a day. And if the fantastic musicianship delivered in these five songs wasn’t surprising enough, it turns out the concept is based on a video game called Bloodborne (which to my shame, I’ve never heard of before) which really makes this undoubtedly unique. Just as an insight into what you should expect, this band lists the likes of Tool, Gojira and Mastodon as their main influences and I assure you they are more than worthy of the comparison.
My first thought hearing these guys was “this is female fronted Tool”. The similarity is just too obvious. From the bass sound and colossal use of toms to the slightly psychedelic vibe in the clean guitar parts and the clean vocal, it just screams of it. It’s got that crazy touch of unpredictability and alternation between aggressive riffs and soft, moody grooves. Especially that drummer is a skillfully refined killing machine. He goes through extremely challenging, progressive and technical parts with amazing precision, filling everything with ghost notes, strums, cymbals and all sorts of details. Just filtering everything out and trying to listen only to him will already make your brain run out of RAM. But at the same time he can maintain a constant sense of groove and structure that allows the music to maintain its course and actually seem ear-friendly, as if all the intricate madness is happening on the side of a few clear and consistent key patterns that you can easily follow. To be fair, the rhythm pattern changes quite a lot but the transitioning is so well put together that any rupture, no matter how severe, between musical ideas seems smooth and cohesive, very easily linking one theme to the next and allowing the songs to constantly change without losing flow and balance. And it goes the same way for the bass lines and guitar riffs, though mainly they seem to just revolve around the psychotic structure of the drums. The guitars get quite melodic at times but they can also turn to chugs, aggressive riffing and even a bit of dissonance. And the bass that mainly sets a low-tone mood in the background will from time to time leap into higher octaves with a lot of dynamic.
So there’s your Tool impersonation. But after clearing through that I started giving more attention to the death metal part of their music. I guess that influence appears mainly because of the sound mixing and effects used, getting really impactful with a nasty, thick kick sound and beefy guitars. They will churn out some double pedals and typical no-melody chug’n’mute’n’scrape riffs now and then that do remind of the raw, stripped down death metal sound you could associate with Gojira. And they also do the headbang thing. Then there is of course the beautifully deadly screamy voice of Jessie Grace (singer, screamer, video game monster) that gives the band a badass attitude and a bit of a psycho personality, almost bordering on black metal shrieking and also covering the grey area between screams and singing (see the melody induced screaming in the chorus of “A Call Beyond”). They also flash out with a few exquisite guitar solos that get just a bit shreddy but mainly quite melodic in a bit of a twisted way. But in essence they remain properly progressive.
In contrast with all this satisfying aggression they have many brief snippets of softness through Tool-ish clean guitars and bass and loads of groove, allowing for a little breather and making room for Jessie to show off her dangerously charming clean voice. But what I love most about these shifts in direction is that although they relieve some of the tension they maintain the pace and momentum and when they kick back in, the energy is still there, waiting to burst into waves of serotonin. I also love their knack for long, menacing build-ups with unpredictable climaxes (the ending of Clocktower will rip you to pieces).
So here’s a summary. The technical abilities of all band members blew my head off. The flow and continuity of the music is maintained from the first to the last note despite all the challenging progressiveness. It’s got more creativity crammed in 5 songs than some bands put in their entire discography. And it kills swiftly with no mercy. For all you waiting on that new Tool album, make this EP your warm up. Some may argue that this is just a ripoff from big names but to be honest, the more you listen to it, the more it feels like an entity of its own. It’s certainly the kind that grows on you with each listen but it also has an ability to hook you from the first spin. It is intellectually challenging but also an absolute blast. I think you’ll dig it even if you don’t really get it. Personally, after my first spin I had a smile up to my ears and my brain cells twisted into a knot. It’s top quality and I can’t encourage you enough to check it out.