THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...DEAD KOSMONAUT Rekviem (High Roller Records)
A new four-track EP ‘Rekviem’ heralds the return of Dead Kosmonaut, whose debut album 'Expect Nothing' was one of 2017’s more exciting releases, and also trumpets the release of a full album ‘Gravitas’ later in the year. The Swedish five-piece take their cue from the first generation of metal bands, in that they don’t feel the need to conform to or be straight-jacketed by a particular style. “When metal was in its infancy bands had more varied input to their music,” notes bassist and primary songwriter Mattias Reinholdsson “These were musicians who’d not grown up on metal music as it didn’t exist, so their take on it had many different facets and albums had acoustic songs, jazzy songs, bluesy songs, progressive songs... I want Dead Kosmonaut to be that sort of band, so that when you listen to one of our songs you don’t really know what’s coming next.”
As such, ‘Rekviem’ serves up four very different pieces of music which range across the metal spectrum, although only the opener ‘Frozen In Time’ is a ‘new’ song, written for the release; a lively pup with a sci-fi lyric, a driving riff and some fabulous guitar work, ‘Frozen In Time’ must surely go on to be a highlight in the band’s live set for years to come. Elsewhere, both the instrumental ‘Skyhooks And Sound Mirrors’ and the doomy ‘Rekviem’ had been written in time for ‘Expect Nothing’ but didn’t make that album’s running order. The debut already had one instrumental in ‘Grimeton’, which effectively shelved ‘Skyhooks...’; and the bleak but beautiful, ten-minute doom-laden title track with its sparse, hugely-autobiographical lyrics about bereavement and loss (and which now features a guitar solo by Fredrik Folkare which wouldn’t be out of place on the best of Pink Floyd, and Grand Magus’s Fox Skinner guesting on cello) was deemed “too extreme” for ‘Expect Nothing’. Finally, ‘House Of Lead (Nobody’s Home)’ is a reworking of the debut album cut by the new line-up, which features guitarists Folkare and Pär Fransson, vocalist Pelle Gustafsson and drummer Henrik Johansson alongside Reinholdsson.
Solid, exciting and metal to the core, ‘Rekviem’ is the perfect introduction to the world of Dead Kosmonaut, and a great bridge for those of using patiently waiting for the release of the band’s second album.
© John Tucker September 2019