29 December 2014

[Review] Cosmic Plunge - Wanderers on the face of the Earth

Cosmic Plunge
Despite the fact that the Greek "heavy" scene has offered a lot of 'stoner' rock bands the last years, there are only a few bands that walk the extra mile of heaviness and dare to approach the Doom sound (and even fewer that they don’t use the word "Doom" in order to "camouflage" their slightly heavier -but in fact power metal- tunes). But don't be afraid; the album that you are reading about now, has nothing to do with power metal Trojans calling themselves "doomsters". Here we have the debut album of Cosmic Plunge, called "Wanderers on the face of the Earth", and it sounds as Doom should be sounded: heavy, slow (or at least mid tempo), fuzzy, downtuned, and riff laden.

But lets take the things from the beginning. Cosmic Plunge formed in 2010 in Heraklion of Crete. After four years of experience gathering, they decided that it was about time to record their first album, and if you ask me, their four year collected knowledge is obvious in this album. 

If the great artwork of the album cover gives you a hint about the aesthetics of the band, the first notes of the record-titled track, makes it perfectly clear, that what we've got here isn't "another stoner doom band". And the reason is simple: While the guitars fuzzy tone, heaviness, and riffology derives mainly from the so called “stoner” Doom reservoir, the vocal lines and the -simple but quite useful- guitar leads are setting their eyes upon the heavy metal and the traditional aesthetics of Doom. An endeavor like this, can be quite “risky”, if the band who tries it, doesn’t have the experience to handle this “mixture” properly. Cosmic Plunge are combining this stuff though, most of the times with very good results, and a lot of their music identity and uniqueness derives from this “marriage” between stoner doom tone and “across the riff” vocals.  At this point, I have to admit that in the very first listening sessions I was a little cautious about the vocals and their “autonomous” melodic lines. But after a couple of further listenings, I became totally familiar with them. Of course in some of the songs this kind of vocal approach works better than others, and I think it would be nice for some tunes to have simpler and “with the riff” vocals (in order some riffs to “breath” better in some songs) but this is just a matter of personal taste after all, and it’s not something that everyone would notice.

The record consists of seven songs and it has to spin around for about 43 minutes in order to listen to all of them. A quite reasonable running time, that doesn’t get the listener tired, and allows you to revisit “Wanderer’s…” in its entity, every time. The production of the album works in the same direction too: underlines the heaviness of the band’s rhythm section and stands in the ideal spot between the contemporary doom sound and the 70s heavy rock. The songs that I liked the most were the opening doom monolith which gives its name to the album, the more straight forward “Doctrine” (which is the band’s first video for this record) and the “Dead Man’s” which is a perfectly fine composition filled  with some great riffs .  But my favorite track of the album is by far “Love stands beneath the Hurricane”.  A song with great lyrics, which begins in a way that slightly reminds me of “Liquid Sleep” by 1000mods, and soon follows its own heavy path in order to finally evolve into a great doom hymn.  

As an epilogue to this review, I wouldn’t say that this record is the best doom album of all times, but I enjoyed it so much that I found myself listening to it over and over again. And this “need” to listen a record again and again, is a feature that only the good albums have. Finally, another reason that made me add “Wanderers on the face of the Earth” to my top-20 list of 2014, was the good care and the devotion the band showed in many aspects of their work (look for example the limited edition of their album). This devotion is something more than promising in a country where -musically speaking- the word “stoner” becomes popular for the wrong reasons, while the word “Doom” stays misunderstood and marginalized.

by Vasilis Durden







 

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