None More Black: Congregation Of The Cosmic Church
Kept you waiting, huh?
Cosmic Church is – surprise, surprise – a Finnish black metal band. In their music one can sense the legacy of the Finnish scene; there’s a heritage in the riffs and the way the melodies are never fully fleshed out. But they are more than tradition. There’s a hypnotic and atmospheric quality to the band’s music that lives up to their name. Or rather, “their”. Cosmic Church is largely Luxius Sumering Auter and guests like Profundiis (drums, Blood Red Fog) and Rauta (guitar). I have not known of the band for very long, but I have quickly become impressed with their work.
I had the pleasure of catching Cosmic Church live earlier this year. Much like their songs, their shows are more on the hypnotic side than the eventful. Apart from the triangular formation, leaving the mid-stage empty, and the red robes, hoods and cowls as opposed to the usual black, there’s little remarkable happening during their gigs. If you wanna see a hell of a show, go see Taake – this doesn’t mean that Cosmic Church doesn’t play a hell of a gig, there’s just not much of a show going on. In fact, their shows are exactly like their songs. There’s not a whole lot going on at first; only upon a closer look examination do you find more surface to the songs. Even then the band itself remains slightly odd and out of place, despite drawing from the same pool as most black metal bands.
Between their founding in 2004 and their debut full-length in 2010, Cosmic Church released a multitude of demos/EPs. The most important (I’d say) is the Arcana Dei– trilogy. The first four songs don’t quite capture the band’s signature sound, but if you can get past the, shall we call it, rough production, the songs boast a number of good riffs (and melodies). The second part, songs 5 to 8, are slightly clearer production-wise, but if you’re one of them “golden ears” you ought to steer clear. If not, you can stream the trilogy compiled into one right below.
Absoluutin Lävistämä, the aforementioned debut LP, features a less demo-like production, but also possibly the band’s dullest songs. Unfortunately, everything about this album can be considered stock. Despite featuring a thick atmosphere, born here through the buzzing of guitars rather than keyboards, and hypnotic song structures, complete with cold riffs recalling the melodicism of the Finnish-scene, nothing really stands out. It all feels lacking, even the Filosofem-esque atmosphere. It’s not a bad album, but compared to much of the band’s body of work, it’s mediocre. Perhaps, however, you’d like to make up your own mind by streaming it below?
It is on their first split with Blood Red Fog that things really start to get interesting. “Mysteeriverhoon kietoutunut” is a 21-minute portal to the more, well, cosmic side of the band. The varying tempos, clear production and a hitherto missing passion instantly shoot the band into heights I’d never have expected them to reach. On all the non-CD versions of this split two other tracks also reside, neither as great as the opener but both very enjoyable. I must say that the atmosphere present here is still born of the guitars, but “Jumalten Kyyneleet” includes some chanting and the first appearance of the band’s signature hypnotic nature.
Ylistys is where I first entered the hall. It is where LSA first truly seems to have embraced the majestic side of his band, where the atmospheres build on top of sharp riffs and furious, lively drumming. Some songs, like “Näkyjä Indigolähteeltä” are seemingly driven by a melodic keyboard, but the catchiest motifs never resurface. Other tracks, like “Kätketyn Tulen Vartija” don’t seem to do much else than build momentum for hours, until a short burst delivers that climaxlike a shot to the back of the neck.
The band’s most recent release at the time of writing is Vigilia, a four-song, 30-minute EP that might just be Cosmic Church’s finest hour. The songs aren’t as hypnotic as on Ylistys, but they make up for it with vividness, atmosphere, and a feeling similar to that found on Burzum‘s earlier work yet composed of wholly different riffs. The riffs here aren’t cold, or even warm for that matter; all they are is spot on, powerful, striking… I could go on forever (no I couldn’t, I’m already at the edge of my vocabulary). This is perhaps the best place to begin digging into this band, with its great songs and short length. The EP does feel longer than it is, but even so it never feels jarring or overstaying its welcome.
Black Metal Track of Whatever Time-frame I Feel Like Writing These
Since Stanley’s excellent 18 Days of MGLA feature overlooked their very first release, let us bask in its awe now.
With these, I offer you my most heart-felt contrafibulations and say, toodle-oo.