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Comets on Fire - Blue Cathedral CD (album) cover


Comets on Fire

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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The Wizard
5 stars Comets on Fire, one of today's most exciting bands, have successfully blown my mind into pieces with their epic masterpiece Blue Cathedral. Playing sludgy psychedelia at high velocities and creating volleys of sonic textures amongst powerful riffs in loose but never lost jams, the flaming comets have proven themselves a cosmic force to be reckoned with. They never fail to rear their influences, while still maintaining vibrant originality. The feedback noise attacks of Sonic Youth, the electric blues of Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, the sludgy proto-metal riffing of the MC5 and Blue Cheer, the spaced out interstellar vibes of Hawkwind and early Floyd, and the volleys of ear shattering sludge which liken to Black Sabbath, The Melvins, and Dead Meadow all combine to give Comets on Fire the unique sound they craft in Blue Cathedral.

In their debut and Field Recordings From the Sun the band successfully established their roots. Blue Cathedral shows them progressing, becoming the great band they are. Song structures are more complex and tend to be jazzy, as well as moving more to the space-rock side of things. Maybe it's the addition of guitarist Ben Chasny, who re- invented 'acid-folk' with his groundbreaking band Six Organs of Admittance. Chasney is certainly a very experimental and progressive musician, his spaced out guitar noises will certainly ring a bell to fans of Syd Barrett and Steve Hillage.

Blue Cathedral opens with the jolt of pure adrenaline that is The Bee and Cracking Egg. With a gonzoid riff, powerful drum attacks, and singer Ethan Miller almost screaming, the song will drill into your mind. This is almost what hardcore punk rock would sound like if it was in the hands of Hawkwind or Dead Meadow. The band easily switches from riff to riff, at times sounds sounding very bluesy. Everything is almost completely out of control, the only thing keeping it together is bassist Ben Flashman, playing sludgy and steady bass-lines. Noel von Harmonson adds sonic layers of fuzz, echo, and electronics over it all. Utrillo Kushner's drumming is, as Julian Cope once said, like "two drummers who think they are Kieth Moon". I could not think of a better description for his manic style which somehow manages to keep a strong rhythm.

While Blue Cathedral prefers the band drill deep caverns holes into your mind, they also know how to slow down, still keeping the energy level as high as ever. And while the structure of the jams are loose, they never get lost and noodle into oblivion. These are comets who stay on track and know where they're going. It's almost like a constant burst of random brilliance is following the band.

Comets on Fire are certainly not for everyone on this site. They are noisy, dangerous, and intense. They have obvious punk references in their music and the production is anything but clean. If you're hoping for slickly produced neo-prog look somewhere else because Comets on Fire are certainly not what your looking for. But for the adventurous , those who love music that rocks hard (you could head-bang to this, yet it's not metal) and trips out at the same time then Comets on Fire are the gang of cosmic outlaws you are looking for.

Report this review (#110905)
Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album really blows my mind each time i'm hearing it. That band is one of the most powerfull and intense rock'n roll band ever, and one of the most exiting contemporary band. Blue Cathedral switch between dreamy proggressive ballads and out of space psychedelic noisy jam with lots of Echoplex spacey effects which blows your mind in the cosmos ! I especially like the track called Wild Whiskey : out of space larsen introduction and 70's organ ballad which reminds a lot to Pink Floyd Meddle era. One of my fave records ever !
Report this review (#117201)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ahh, this is where Comets on Fire's new direction really takes hold and creates something irreplaceable. This album is far removed from their first two albums in many ways. For one, Ben Chasny (of experimental folk project Six Organs of Admittance) was made into a full member the year before this recording. Another important change is the introduction of keyboards, a change you wouldn't expect upon hearing their first two albums.

The album starts off with the great The Bee & The Crackin' Egg. In the first few minutes of this song the band strides on familiar grounds, starting off with an echoplex explosion we've come to expect from Noel von Harmonson. The heavy guitar riffs and always fantastic rhythm section along with the reverberated vocals of Ethan Miller are there as well. The band shows their newfound progressive tendencies on this song when it slows down in tempo about 5 minutes in. The echoplex disappears and we're left with the light dual guitars of Ethan Miller/Ben Chasny being carried by Utrillo Kushner's laid-back drumming for a while. The song increases in tempo again and explodes at the end with more echoplex and frenzied guitars. The song's superb, and the others are just as good.

In Pussy Footin' the Duke, the band surprises again when Noel von Harmonson drops the echoplex completely and replaces it with keyboard. With this track, the band shows us for the first time that they don't need to be energetic to be great. Their new quieter sound on songs like Pussy Footin' the Duke, Organs, and Brotherhood of the Harvest are just as good and progressive as the high-energy songs like The Bee and the Crackin' Egg, Whiskey River, The Antlers of the Midnight Sun, and Blue Tomb. Also very notable is Wild Whiskey, where they seem to strike a perfect balance between both sounds. It starts out loud and powerful and diminishes by the end, but throughout the song it captures a strange and foreign sense of beauty. Comets on Fire is definitely creating a strong atmosphere on Blue Cathedral, and Wild Whiskey displays it perfectly.

An essential prog album to say the least. Recommended to all, but especially to fans of louder psychedelic music and space rock. For those who aren't into noisy music their next effort Avatar is worth checking out prior to this one. The rough sounds of this album were hard for me to get into at first as well, but persisting certainly paid off as its now one of my all-time favorites.

Report this review (#155894)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | Review Permalink

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