Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Monument Carved in Stone - Part V - Cosmic Genesis

So, this is where I basicly review one of my favourite records piece by piece, song by song and grade everything from 0-10. Most records have that in common that - for me - they will live on forever, hence the title "A monument carved in stone". I have already done part I-IV in Swedish earlier and I'm quite unsure if I'll ever translate those into English now that this blog is international. We'll see what the future holds.

Band: Vintersorg
Record: "Cosmic Genesis" (Spotifylink)
Year: 2000-11-03
Origin: Sweden
Label: Napalm Records
Running time: 50.13
1. Astral And Arcane
2. Algol
3. A Dialouge With The Stars
4. Cosmic Genesis
5. Om Regnbågen Materialiserades
6. Ars Memorativa
7. Rainbow Demon (Uriah Heep cover)
8. Naturens Galleri
9. The Enigmatic Spirit
Record cover:
I simply adore the dark green that meets the more snot-green. The logo is right on spot and fits the entire Vintersorg-universe like a syringe fits a heroin addict. What I am less thrilled about is the symbol that mr. Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund have designed and drawn himself. It is definitly alright, but it fit older, more heathen works such as "Till Fjälls" and "Ödemarkens Son" better. But as I said, it's alright anyway. Unlike the font that the title is written in. It is ugly as hell and does not fit the rest of the cover at all.
1. Astral And Arcane (06.56)
Suggestive carpets of keyboard fights with angry drum-compositions and beautiful guitarmelodies. The clean vocals of Andreas has improved quite a lot since the predecessor "Ödemarkens Son" and it is sheer joy to, for the first time ever, hear him take tone in a somewhat broken school-english. Lyrically, it's about as advanced as the Swedish has been in previous works. In other words; this is about as far as you can get from simple rock n' roll-lyrics and chanting satanverses.
Musically the opening track is actually somewhat epic. Not only is it the second longest track on "Cosmic Genesis", from now and then - the chorus especially - everything moves in a quite slow tempo. It's great as fuck anyway and the combination proglike/epic/rock meets agressive metal is a delight for my ears.
2. Algol (06.08)
The second track "Algol" is by far more aggressive and faster in tempo. The lyrics are written by an old poet by the name of Karl-Erik Forsslund and is freely translated from Swedish into English by Andreas. This has made the song somewhat difficult to sing, and in my opinion this is clearly heard in the music.
From time to time it sounds as if the lyrics has dictated how the composition of the song has been done. This is not overly negative though, because as usual with Mr. V, the song is yet another good example of a masterful craftmanship.
3. A Dialouge With The Stars (05.47)
Perhaps the most instantly recognizable song from this record is the insanely catchy rocker "A Dialouge With The Stars". The subtle keyboards goes along so goddamn well with the guitars that it's almost unexplainable in words. The aggressive verses also goes hand in hand with the catchy chorus that, on a sidenote, is impossible not to sing along with.
Simply put - this is a V-classic and definitly worthy of a full score!
4. Cosmic Genesis (07.06)
The title track is a wonderfully crafted piece that largely lives on keyboards and it's atmosphere, rather than on it's "goddamn-heavy-metal". It is a more laid back effort that the previous two tracks, but it does wonders in building a real atmosphere.
The only real problem is that it's seven minutes and six seconds are at least one and a half minutes too long. Not that there are any real filler-parts in the song, but it does get a bit tedious around the 5.30-mark.
5. Om Regnbågen Materialiserades (05.01)
This is easily one of my all-time favourite songs with Vintersorg. Not that it is saying much, since about 96% of all their songs are pure gold in my opinion. The part when the drums accelerate just when the verse begins always gets my heart pumping and the hair rise on my arms. The semi-verses on this song is so goddamn majestic and perfect that it always gets me. No, really - I was trying to type this while listening to the said part, but I just couldn't concentrate on anything else but the song. It is in other words impossible for this one to ever become background music. The soft chorus fits the song perfectly and the only thing that's preventing "Om Regnbågen Materialiserades" from getting a full score is that it's a bit too lengthy near the end, when nothing special happens.
6. Ars Memorativa (05.09)
As in the case with "Algol" - the vocal lines just sounds too forced on "Ars Memorativa". It's as if the lyrics were more important than the actual flow of the song itself. There's really not much more to say, since it is in no way a bad song - it just sounds forced at some points.
But one thing to always remember here is when Andreas pronounces the word "vortex" as "war-tex" which either sounds cool as hell or ridicioulsly dumb depending on what mood you're in.
7. Rainbow Demon (Uriah Heep cover) (04.01)
This is where the record gets insanely tedious in my opinion. No, I don't particulary care for "Rainbow Demon" - which is weird since the original is very good and this cover ain't no horseshit either. The thing is that after the first chorus, you just want to hear the next song on the record - but then it's over two minutes left of the song. It just is way too slow for it's own good and it really drags the entire "Cosmic Genesis" down in both tempo and atmosphere. You just know that something is wrong when the shortest song on an album feels like the longest.
8. Naturens Galleri (05.22)
The mere beginning twelve seconds of "Naturens Galleri" feels like a sigh of relief after hearing "Rainbow Demon". The fast tempo is incredibly welcomed and it is a joy to hear how Andreas delivers the vocals with such passion in both verses and choruses. To put it short; this is a very enjoyable fast-paced metal song with lots of passion.
The one thing that I really don't care for is that the pre-chorus (or whatever it is) - you know the part where the lyrics goes "Var helst min blick begrunnar..." - lacks screaming vocals. That would have been so much better.
9. The Enigmatic Spirit (04.43)
The album closes with the moody, slow and beautiful semi-ballad "The Enigmatic Spirit". I just love how the band slowly builds up to the incredibly majestic chorus (which also is impossible not to sing along to) and this song is perfect in both length and execution. In other words, it is the perfect way to end this (almost) perfect album.
After this record, Vintersorg have had one semi-ballad like this on every new album. But neither "A Star-Guarded Coronation", "A Microscopical Macrocosm" nor "Strålar" even comes close in recapturing the essence of "The Enigmatic Spirit".
End rating:
All in all - there are 2 things that makes "Cosmic Genesis" miss the jackpot in getting ten out of ten points.
1. The Uriah Heep-cover
I am sorry, but it does drag the enitre album down.
2. The lack of screaming vocals
Yes, these are only prominent on the first four songs and there are some places later on the album (see "Naturens Galleri") that really could have beneficed from this.
Otherwise, this is as good as Vintersorg gets, and in my opinion - this is the only V-record where he truly does shine vocal-wise.
"Rise! Solar spirits in the caravan of supernovas
Give me the palmist visual sensation
I'm a newborn in this omnipotent laboratory
Fulfilled with balance and harmony in a timeless nexus


Tobias Nilsson said...

Alright, changes the comments to English, to fit the new blog.

Anyway, one question;
What does A Dialogue... and Om Regnbågen... lack for a jackpot?

Henrik said...

Good question. I don't really know.
I think that my intention was to give A Dialogue... 10/10 and Om Regnbågen... 9/10. Perhaps I should re-write some of this?

Henrik said...

Satisfied? :P

Tobias Nilsson said...

Very much so ;o)

Eduardo said...

My highlights for this album are "Astral and Arcane", "Om Regnbågen..." and "Enigmatic Spirit".