Monday, May 20, 2013

Gallileous - Necrocosmos (2013)

One look at the cover art, and you can probably infer the kind of trip you'll be taking. When you ride along with Polish five piece Gallileous, you are certain to go places you've never thought of, or at least never cared to try. But with a sound that sits squarely in the huge gap between the prog days of yore, and the melancholic doom stylings of today, you would be hard pressed to find any other way to get from A to Z without traversing the entire galaxy in between. What sits in front of you, with an air ship gracing its cover, is a mind altering piece of melodic, jam driven metal that might leave you scratching your head, or merely trying to find it in the cloud of smoke you insist you see. At any rate, the five track album know as "Necrocosmos" is a trip you simply have to take to understand. And whether you imbibe the herbal remedies the fine folks of Colorado have at their legal disposal or not, this is a long walk that might leave you questioning your purpose... or simply looking for a snack.

With a solid doom tempo, but the spacey use of synthesizers, the title track might prove to be a suitable representation of what the band has to offer. As bizarre a mix as the two seem to be, it all comes together in a broken harmony of sorts, rounded out by a vocal line that is akin to trembling chants. The tone of both instrumental and vocal are, somehow, a perfect match for one another. Never is that more clear than in the last verse, where the electric piano, dense chugging guitar, airy vocal and a background guitar solo come crashing together in a mess of progressive doom. By slapping that tag onto the output here, it would be easy to mislead you. It isn't progressive in the modern sense; but you can hear the seventies and early eighties prog influence in tracks like "Fractal Dimension." The use of keyboards as an atmospheric and melodic element infuses some life into the darker doom pacing. That being said, the seventies influence also seems to bleed into the production work, with the mix lacking that digital age clarity you would expect. In this case, though, it works, as the analog sounding output matches the mood. The extended jam that comprises the last few minutes of the track could be right out of the Phish handbook, with a healthy side of My Dying Bride.

By the time you reach the aptly titled "Time Traveler,' you've been transported to a dream like state. Everything is softer here, including the guitars, rocking you gently back and forth. Over seven plus minutes, you are lowered into a melody induced haze, and you made find yourself wondering when you officially got high. The trippy theme continues in a different way on "X - Rayed By Stars," with the lyrical content continually bending your mind into a soft pretzel. It is the keyboard work that makes this track successful, carrying you at every moment with a blend of synthesizer and electric piano sounds. But guitar work is also at a premium here, with some intricate solo work coming in and out of the mix. What amounts to perhaps the best track on the album is also the most confusing. There are several separate moments where it feels as though the track is, or should be, over. Yet it carries on, stretching to a near eight minute length. But it is dwarfed in both size and scope by the finale, the nine minute "Cosmic Pilgrims," which sees the band utilizing everything they've done thus far into one mammoth offering. There is still that harmony between instruments, anchored by those imperfect yet adequate vocals. The chanting is off key at times, but sounds so right at others. This is an acid trip in musical form; it might even be worth digging out your blacklight posters and tie dye.

There's no two ways about it; this is one of the more intriguing and bizarre mixes of styles you can ever hope to come across. It isn't contrived or ill-prepared, though. hat Gallileous have done here is to infuse the new with the old, or the old with the new. Whichever way you slice it, it works in a very different sort of way. Once you've completed your journey through the cosmos, which takes roughly 45 minutes, you may feel a sort of emptiness that will only be cured with another trip; and then another and another. Much like the psychotropic drugs that this album may convince you that you're on, it becomes addictive very quickly, with a very harsh sort of withdrawal. That is to say, it would be hard to listen to this album, and then switch back to some good ol' power metal. It just wouldn't be a good fit. Regardless, the ethereal haze that "Necrocosmos" provides you with is certainly with all of the symptoms you'll exhibit afterwards. Contact your doctor if the effects last more than four hours.


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