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Incredibly Dull To Begin With. - 55%

Perplexed_Sjel, June 10th, 2010

Cosmic Church are by no means a new name to black metal. Formed six years ago, Cosmic Church have laid dormant until recently and, although they’ve released three demos and three EP’s, they hadn’t released their full-length debut until January of this year. Six years is a long time to spend building up to this moment, but I’m glad they’ve taken the time to issue their first major album, as opposed to dishing our several in a short space of time. The song writing has a lot of thought in it with the album eclipsing the forty minute mark and with much of the instrumentation being played at a relatively slow speed, it would have to be more cautious and thoughtful. ‘Absoluutin Lävistämä’, makes a conscious decision to allow each song to flow into one another. In fact, without looking at whether the song had changed or not, I’m not sure I’d be able to tell that it had. The album can be quite monotonous because the bass ebbs deeply beneath the fore fronted layers without too much change.

The opening song, ‘Alkusoitto - Kultaisen Avaimen Portti’, which is a rather needless 3 minute plus instrumental song, does use variations within the bass lines, but it doesn’t make for an interesting introduction to this seemingly concept album, given the nature of the song titles. The instrumental songs on the album are pointless in general, as they normally are because they detract from the true essence of the band. Whilst they’re content to ponderously wander with no real direction, the rest of the album is affected by the unnecessary feeling to these short tracks because they disrupt the flow of the material. After the brilliant sixth song, entitled ‘Osa IV - Salaisen Tiedon Hehku’, the band opt not to end on a relatively high note, but with another detracting, negative instrumental which lacks the depth and quality than the regular songs make their business, or at least try to. The production is a low point on the album in general. It gives the material a rather cheap feel. It doesn’t hinder the bass, as they is prevalent throughout all songs, though that isn’t always a positive.

. It doesn’t stick to as strick a regime as it does on most of the other song, including the other two instrumentals on the album, both of which add very little to the album in the way of enhancement. At the beginning of the album, it definitely sounds like it’s going to be more at ease than it is. The song writing can be quite rigid and unadventurous. It keeps the same ominous texture throughout, though some songs do showcase a beauty to the band. It takes more time to build the atmosphere and this is what I mean by the song writing being more thoughtful than I would have expected. Usually, with bands like this, the ideology tends to dictate the material. With the themes revolving around occultism and Satanism, I would have expected an all-out-attack from the drums and guitars alike. The pace and tempo of this album seldom goes faster than mid pace and is obsessed with slow and solemn characteristics. Even the vocals have a drawn out feeling to them. They themselves, like the bass, feel quite distant to the music. The production doesn’t do the best job of pulling all the aspects together, but the repetitious riffs are good enough to maintain interest on the latter few songs, whilst the length of the first two real songs are a hindrance to the flow of the album as the material can become quite tired towards the middle and end.

The build ups are much slower than expected, which is refreshing in itself, as shown well on songs like ‘Osa IV - Salaisen Tiedon Hehku’, which are generally very well written. The solo for that particular song was largely unexpected as Cosmic Church tend to rely solely on repetitious riffs that generate a lifeless feel to the atmosphere, rather than opting for solos. The other songs aren’t as adventurous as the aforementioned song and it does make me wonder why the band didn’t opt for more solos that push the envelop, rather than accepting their fate as a slow, by-the-numbers type of band. The album begins as a by-the-book affair with a lo-fi type of sound, pained expressions from the vocalist and fairly dull atmospherics. Thankfully, it does pick up the tempo and increases the chances of longevity by making themselves more accessible through deviating from time-to-time. The poor start however, is a real hindrance. Too many instrumental songs and not enough memorable riffs make the opening few songs incredibly dull to listen to.