CD Review – Kosmodome – Kosmodome

There seems to be a gloriously endless supply of Scandinavian groups plying their trade in the progressive rock world. Kosmodome are a Norwegian band built around the not inconsiderable skills of the Sandvik brothers Sturle on guitars and vocals, and Severin on drums. It has quite a heavy sound, though with lots of light and shade, that lurches towards a quite definite 1960s psychedelic approach. The music is very much riff based, played with energy and drive. The band introduces itself by saying; “We aim to draw listeners into the Kosmodome, in all its diversity. Throughout the album, we dwell in the melodic and the groovy; a baseline for deep dives into massive, heavy soundscapes and spacy atmospheres. Instrumental sections are central to our musical storytelling, further supported by our lyrical themes; introspection and wonder, ruminations on the human condition, and frustrations toward contemporary society.”  

This is a multi-faceted listen, and utilises many sounds and approaches in its heady psychedelia. There are moments that incorporate the technical metal of bands such as Mastodon with the show-gazing subtleties of something less belligerent. Stoner rock with its more timid tempos might be prominent at one point then the music swells and transforms to something more solid and energetic. There’s a kind of grinding momentum that would make Kosmodome fellow travellers of Motorpsycho. They share a kind of driving ramblingness below the melodies of the songs.

The musicianship on this album is pretty high, although the vocals are unlikely to be winning any awards soon. They have a similar sort of fragility to that of The Cure’s Robert Smith, but it is frequently supported by backing vocalists. Sturle Sandvik’s guitar has a quite beefy sound with lots of momentum, while his brother Severin has a spry and lissom style, creating skitter-scatter rhythms that are uncluttered and mobile. Ole-Andreas Jensen’s rumbling bass brings a lot to the table, as does Jonas Særsten keyboards and effects work. Hypersonic and Deadbeat are probably the standout tunes.

This is a very strong first album from Kosmodrome, with much to admire and appreciate. The song writing is strong and rounded, whilst the sonics remain clear in spite of the frequent density of the music. The heavy moments never become unduly droning either, although the often-rapid changes in volume might catch headphone wearers unawares. This is the sort of album that leaves you anticipating what might come next from this retro-but-freshly-modern band.

1. Enter the Dome

2. Retrograde

3. Hypersonic

4. Deadbeat

5. Waver I

6. Waver II

7. The 1%

8. Orbit

Sturle Sandvik – guitars, vocals

Severin Sandvik – drums

Ole-Andreas Jensen – bass

Jonas Særsten – keyboards, effects

Morten E. Olsen – guitar solo

Release dates: 10th December, 2021 – CD, digital

                           14th February, 2022 – vinyl

Label: Karisma Records

Formats: CD, digital, vinyl

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