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The prog-rock ain't my thing, but this isn't bad - 70%

NightOfTheRealm, May 21st, 2004

*WARNING* This is not a metal CD. It is not even remotely metal. Those with an open mind and a taste for prog may procede.

Just a cursory glance at the resumes of the members of Cosmosquad ought to give the listener a fairly good idea of what to expect from LIVE AT THE BAKED POTATO. The three musicians in the band, Jeff Kollman (guitar), Barry Sparks (bass), and Shane Gaalaas (Drums) have contributed to such projects/bands as Artension, Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, Dokken, etc.

I’ll be honest with you, Cosmosquad is not an household name to me, but apparently the band has released 2 studio albums (the 1997 s/t, and 2002’s SQUADROPHINIA) in addition to this live recording.

LIVE AT THE BAKED POTATO was recorded precisely where and how the title states on February 28th (my birthday!) 2001 and features 14 tracks of prog-rock-fusion goodness. Like I said, the compositions here are not metal, but a very interesting mix of prog-rock and jazz fusion. Each song is written to not only showcase the band’s proficiency with their instruments, but also to create a full and rich atmosphere. The songs range from the sweeping, dipping, and turning “Sheer Drama,” to the slow and emotional “In Loving Memory.” Few listeners will find themselves in the middle ground regarding this album; some will absolutely love it, while others will write it off as mindless wankery.

The recording is absolutely flawless; each instrument, and each note comes through crystal clear at precisely the right moment and tone. I feel that the live experience is somewhat diminished, however, due to this same fact. By no means is the sound of this album sterile; the passion with which these three talented musicians play comes through, though a truly “live” sound (that with somewhat of a rough, unpolished edge) is completely outside of the band’s scope of practice. Still, this is one of the better prog rock/jazz fusion albums that I have heard, and I would totally recommend it to those feeling adventurous for a foray into this realm.

Choice cuts: “Sheer Drama,” “Creepy Spider pt 1 and 2,” and “El Perro Vaila”

(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, March, 2004)