“And Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?'”
In the run-up to the crucifixion…
Marcus Pontius Pilatus, (died after 36 ce), Roman prefect (governor) of Judaea (26–36 ce) under the emperor Tiberius, did his best to grasp the “truth” of the situation with the Jew, Jesus.
Jesus, on trial and on threat of his life, referred to “truth”.
The Quest for Truth
“Seekers”, the first full-length album from COSMIC RAIN, released January 2019, dwells in this deep, often baffling terrain.
What is truth? How do we find it, or know it if we stumble across it? Whose truth- is your truth mine, or mine yours?
Is there such a thing as TRUTH- ultimate, final, unquenchable?
This Geneva, Switzerland-based quartet began in early 2017 as a trio. They released an EP, “Utopia”, September, 2017.
The current incarnation retains founding members Laurent Nigg (guitar/vocals), and Marc Jouray (bass guitar), and has two new members rounding out the band: Willem Jochems (drums), and Arnoud Bosch (keyboards).
A Quantum Leap Forward
To these ears, COSMIC RAIN has entered the realms of top-shelf progressive metal, with this release.
“Utopia” showed promise, driven by Laurent’s inventive, expressive guitar work.
My impression of that album was that it represented some good rock with progressive touches.
“Seekers” fulfills the promise, and shows COSMIC RAIN hitting stride, creating thoughtful, creative, ambitious progressive metal.
These seven selections are composed by Laurent, and his mark is strong.
As was the case on the earlier EP, his guitar work is outstanding. As a guitarist myself, I found myself impressed with his use of textures, from raging riffs, to dissonant acoustic guitar passages, from soaring leads over near-symphonic lines, to jazzy clean tones.
“Hot Water Music”, for instance, displays his inventive and deft acoustic guitar work, bringing marvelous tones and textures to this closing track.
On the other hand, “Sils Maria” opens gently, in a questioning fashion, and then explodes powered by rich, gutsy guitar riffs.
Keyboard not optional
For me, progressive music CAN be amazing and fulfilling without keyboards, but WITH keyboards, the potentials and possibilities exponentially increase.
With the addition of Arnaud Bosch, we begin to see where COSMIC RAIN is going.
We’re already treated to deft touches, swelling musical passages, and even acoustic piano lines. All of these add depth and textures to the compositions
Yet I think a growing edge for the band, if they choose to stay intact and to continue writing and working together, is for the keyboards to take an ever larger role in their music.
No progressive metal/progressive rock outfit excels without an excellent, solid, tasteful rhythm section.
Here, we have an indisputably solid bassist and drummer responding to the complexities and subtleties of these compositions
My impression is that Laurent did what many thoughtful people do in search of “truth”- look to the creative spirits among authors and poets and philosophers.
Oddly, sometimes the clearest, most universal truths lie in fiction, in paintings, in acts of creation.
Here, we can find references to H.P. Lovecraft, Philip K Dick, and Charles Bukowski, among others.
I found the closing track disturbing- there are no easy answers here, nor should there be.
I think Laurent is telling us it’s too easy to surrender the search for truth, for the more immediate, superficial pleasures of neon, cold beer, and hot women. (Not that there’s anything wrong with any of these!)
COSMIC RAIN has presented us with intelligent, captivating, thought-provoking progressive metal, in a fine sophomore effort from this rapidly improving quartet.
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