Written by: Volt Thrower
Hailing from Milan, Italy, is the lone and sole cosmic black death metal unit Cosmic Putrefaction. The mysteriously monikered G.G. is back to provide all vocals and instruments on the second full length release for this project, The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers, on I, Voidhanger Records, out May 22nd. There has been some considerable hype surrounding this album in the metal twittersphere, and it absolutely crushes expectations. I feel truly blessed to have been given a sneak peek at an album sure to crack many end of year lists. So far it has been a brutal blackhole of a year, but the metal releases have been solid and consistent, somehow managing to escape the devastation of the shitty supernova known as 2020. Cosmic Putrefaction manages to put their name straight to top of the list with this scathing, six song symphony of destruction.
I'm sorry for that click-baity lede, but that was genuinely the first thing that came to mind after listening to the record, and it's a perfect description so it's staying. The lead single "The Glooming Murk of his Telluric Shrieks," popped up randomly in my bandcamp feed almost two months ago, and the vinyl was in my cart roughly 120 seconds later. You can already tell it's something special after the 45 second intro consisting of a spine-chilling spoken word excerpt, while your bones are being ground to dust by double kicks and ludicrous low-end. After the title of the track is delivered, a blackened-death metal assault ensues, guttural growls painting a picture of dying worlds, culminating with a nasty “blegh” that was ultimately the deciding factor to smash the checkout button. The song itself is an important catalyst for the album's success, placed appropriately near the centre of the runtime, it expands and builds more aggressively on the more relatively straight forward death metal charge of the opening two tracks. While it also takes the time to throttle back and provide a welcome moment of reprieve, in the brief acoustic strings and piano outro.
The album is split into six tracks, but after multiple listens it feels like there are three distinct acts, masterfully composed and ending in a genuine symphony. Those two opening tracks, "Between Awe and Fear upon the Burst of the Ominous Star" and "This Landscape Sublimates Oblivion to Obliteration" (whew) pair up for a destructive introduction and set the pace for the rest of the album. Combined with the aforementioned lead single which further crushes, expands and lays to waste the cosmic landscape in Act 1. After the rise comes the fall, and the middle section of this album is absolutely devastating. "Abysmal Resonance Projection" is a slab of brutal death metal but given just enough air to breath, allowing it to build a grim yet expansive atmosphere. An absolutely haunting segue into "The Arcane Soothsayer Carefully Sculpted his Demise," five minutes of ripping death metal, with an almost black n’ roll groove nestled in the middle, would've made an absolutely fitting ending to a great album. Which leads me to what makes it a perfect album.
"Utterance of the Fall of Man" is the final act of the three, and is absolutely stunning. A metal masterpiece with zero hyperbole attached. A twilight-zone intro with a dizzying array of strings and what sounds like maybe a dulcimer, creates a sense of uneasy calm, before roaring to life with soaring guitars and a doomy low end rumble. Spine tingling screams are piped in over top of a tremolo riff that builds and swells until it collapses on itself like a dense neutron star. A symphonic instrumental outro is the exclamation point on top of an exclamation point. A swelling, crescendo-ing ending that leaves your head spinning and questioning the reality around you. The shrieks, growls and spoken words intertwine beautifully on the album, working in harmony to push and pull at emotions, prodding when needed, showing restraint when required. It's incredible how a single human can harness the power of an entire orchestra, combining dissonance and expansive beauty and heaviness so seamlessly into a brilliant and devastating piece of art. Easy AoTY contender.
Cosmic Putrefaction - The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers will be released May 22nd from I, Voidhanger Records.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!