There may be only two succinct statements that it’s possible to make about Kosmodemonic‘s new album: The first is that it’s not possible to sum up the music succinctly. The second is that the music is really damned good!
The reason that attempting to capture what this New York group have achieved on Liminal Light is so tough is that the songs are so multi-faceted. Even if you knew nothing about the line-up, it quickly becomes evident in listening to the album that their inspirations are manifold and their tastes eclectic (even if they seem to share a pretty grim world-view). One prominent hint of that comes from the comment we received from James Rauh of Transylvanian Recordings, who will be releasing this new album on May 7th:
“Kosmodemonic is an unsettling psychedelic blackened doom metal band from New York. When I first heard Liminal Light I was blown away at their ability to craft a horrifying and hypnotic record that is profoundly heavy and mesmerizing. This record haunted my dreams and psyche, there was something about the unhinged vocals that overpowered my mind. I couldn’t stop listening to this record and when I played other albums this was what my brain craved, so I found myself coming back to this over and over.
“It’s a really special recording. This is an almost avant-garde approach to extreme metal, I would put this in the same realm as colossal bands like Voivod, Oranssi Pazuzu, and YOB. Listen to this immediately, and come back to it and do it again, you need this in your life.”
If you’re familiar with the quality of the music Transylvanian has been releasing for many years (and if you’re not, you should be), it’s worth giving those comments a lot of weight. And today, through our full streaming premiere, you will be able to listen to Liminal Light immediately — and you definitely should heed James‘ urgings to do it without delay.
Maybe that’s all we need to say, but of course we won’t stop there.
On this, their second album, Kosmodemonic prove themselves frighteningly talented in leading listeners through a nightmare-scape of harrowing and haunting sounds. They’re capable of inflicting cruel and unusual physical punishment — when they batter and stomp, it feels physical, and there’s a cold, merciless quality to those organ-rupturing impacts. The bleak oppressiveness of the music is enhanced by the intense wretchedness and pain channeled by the raw, wailing vocals and the desolating resonance of moaning melodies.
But these ingredients of crushing and soul-shattering doom are only some of the facets revealed as this obsidian gem turns. The band prove themselves equally adept at putting the fever of desperation in the blood through surges of unhinged guitar frenzy, gut-gouging bass lines, obliterating drum assaults, and vicious throat-cutting screams.
But inflicting ruinous emotional turmoil along with bouts of ruthless bludgeoning still doesn’t exhaust what these songs do. The band go on the attack with violent, rapid-fire riffing, blaring chords, and blasting percussion, and they also inject frightful hallucinogens directly into the brain-stem with weird, quivering and darting guitar harmonies and soaring spirals of gleaming sound, and pour narcotic ichor into your ears through slow, syrup-thick, melodies and drugged-out vocals, a combination that’s somehow seductive even though it feels really bad for your health.
The album also pulls us into dark waters of devastating heartbreak, especially in “Lover of Leaving”, where we sink, shackled by chains of grief and spellbound by the glimmering phosphorescence of things we held dear, now gone. And last, but not least, the record contains moments of wistful beauty, most notably channeled in the soulful guitar solo in “Broken Crown” (performed by the band’s guest Jeremy Sosville of Sanhedrin and Black Anvil).
It’s hard to understate the exhilarating effects of the rhythm section, whether they’re racing, strafing, raining bombs, or simply musing, but the evenness of the mix and the clarity of the sound (which in no way detracts from the music’s crushing heaviness when that’s called for) allows the guitars to infiltrate the blood and pierce the brain like spikes, and permits those vocals to put the frighteners down your spine with equal immediacy and power.
So you see, the experience is hard to capture (at least for me) in a few sentences, much less to stamp it with a pithy genre label. But it most definitely is a startlingly good album, one that gets you in its grip fast and then doesn’t let go.
The artwork for the record will not soon be forgotten, and credit for it goes to Aleksandra Waliszweska. Credit for the terrific engineering work goes to Sanford Parker. Transylvanian Recordings will release the album on cassette tape and digitally.