I sometimes wonder how you ensure the necessary creative interaction to achieve quality results in songwriting, if bandmates are separated by multiple time zones, deprived of the opportunity to occupy the same location in the space-time continuum to trade and refine ideas with blossoming spontaneity. Is it more likely that the end results be bereft of organic authenticity and passion? Or will the practical challenges and hurdles to artistic achievement imposed by the circumstances inspire the band to overcome them and achieve excellence? In the curious case of Kosmogyr’s debut album Eviternity, within minutes you will know the correct answer with resounding clarity.
Eviternity is the outcome of two years of long-distance collaboration between Ivan Belcic and Xander Cheng, who are currently based in Prague and Shanghai, respectively. With impressive ease, Kosmogyr’s duo rise above the confines and encumbrances any band is destined to encounter in such geographical circumstances.
Although seemingly lean and straightforward, Kosmogyr’s music is imbued with a sense of urgency and purpose, often traversing full throttle through layers of atmosphere towards resolution, replete with vigorous leads, ripping riffage full of fervor, backed by the rapid-fire cascade of crashing drumming. At its core, Eviternity radiates barely contained vitality and exhilaration and is peculiarly uplifting despite the uncompromisingly sweltering inferno. By way of sonic relatives and reference points, Kosmogyr recalls a combination of the heroic momentum of Forteresse, the warm guitar lead melodies of Vagrond, coupled with the sharp bite of Void Ritual, all the while retaining its own personality.
Kosmogyr operates with such confidence that it dares to begin the album, following an introductory taste of gradually building layers of warbling chords and weeping strings brimming with yearning, with its most monochromatic and despondent number (“The Wane”), a gamble which is tantamount to artistic suicide in this era of shortened attention spans and overabundance of releases competing over listening time. It almost feels like a planned diversion to lull the listener into a false sense of low expectations, before rushing forward with a riveting troika of absolute black metal splendor showing the true colors of the band. “Quiescent” bursts through walls with crunchy tremolos that swirl tirelessly and without remorse, while “Eviternity” claims the throne with an equally savage push and pull of guitars and regal leads, by a percussive tornado — and then it arrives: a stunningly enthralling lead melody of black metal perfection which soars and crescendos together with a thunderously climaxing percussive tornado, guaranteed to deliver goosebumps and chill spines. “Frailty” enters the fray with a brilliant pulse-pounding interplay between the band members who lunge, feint, charge and parry, ever moving onwards with frenzied determination. This creative interplay takes center stage across the album, often in breathtaking ways such as on the closing track “Thalassic Lunacy,” during the beautiful juxtaposition of the radiant ringing of sparse chords, constantly shape-shifting drumming and the steady backbone provided by incessant tremolos; not to mention the sweeping motifs of “Visions” and the distressed layered guitars of “Iridescent.”
As an important side note, the heartfelt aura and collective essence of the album is heightened even further upon learning that the album cover is based on a painting by Ivan’s sister Larissa, while the album packaging is designed by his wife Kaine Lyu, exemplifying vividly how the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts when close-knit artistic spirits with a truly personal connection join forces to create captivating art.
Kosmogyr delivers fantastic results especially when the duo decides to up the ante by accelerating and unleashing its full shared might, as if they were locked in a cavalier game of taking turns in one-upping each other’s song-writing ideas until they coalesce into something overwhelmingly pure and powerful. When they do so, they transcend their geographic distance from each other and achieve a tremendous collective skill and creativity in unison by. In terms of thunderous passion and scalding devastation, Eviternity will be among the most earnest black metal you are likely to hear all year.