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Cosmos Factory - An Old Castle of Transylvania CD (album) cover


Cosmos Factory

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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3 stars I find this album a bit unbalanced and unsatisfying on the whole, but it certainly has some great moments. My complaint is that there are few tracks that are great all the way through. Lots of styles are present, from harder rock, to spacey & ominous Moogy prog, to more commercial-leaning balladic stuff with 'mournful' vocals that tend to irritate me (which reminds me of the parts of the Far Out/ Far East Family Band albums that I don't like, kinda ruining the good bits in the process). But, that's just my tastes. Folks who don't mind the ballads and the vocal style may well find this a more wholly satisfying listen. I'm curious to hear their second & third albums, which I suspect I might like a lot more.
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Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars The Japanese progrock band COSMOS FACTORY made a sery of albums in the Seventies with every time another sound. I prefer their debut-album "An Old Castle Of Transylvania" (1973). The long title track (around 20 minutes) is a mind blowing blend of psychedelia and progrock with great build ups and eruptions, very compelling with strong hints from early PINK FLOYD but the swirling movements also brings the long live tracks from URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE, IRON BUTTERFLY, VANILLA FUDGE and Krautrock like early JANE and ELOY on my mind. It contains sumptuous keyboard play including heavy floods of Hammond organ and Mellotron along biting guitar. The interplay between guitar and organ is like "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" from PINK FLOYD. The other songs are also loaded with Hammond and Mellotron, a real 'keyboard nirvana' for the fans of 'vintage keyboards'.
Report this review (#26970)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can even be said about this album? Their 1973 certified classic. One of the best I've ever heard from Japan. Dark, haunting progressive rock drenched in gorgeous melodies. Features the absolutely fantastic guitar work of Hirashi Mizutani. I like the opening track but it's really on track two that this album becomes magical, in my opinion. The whole album oozes with creativity. Heavy prog brilliance. A stunning piece of work. Can you tell how much I like this album!?
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Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here is my review..''Soundtrack 1984'',about 3.5 minutes long,is a space-rock guitar song,with swirling keyboards.''Maybe'',about 6 minutes long,is a melodic rocker,with a blues edge to it.''Soft Focus'',a little over 3.5 minutes long,is a piano ballad,with beautiful vocals.''Fantastic Mirror'',4.5 minutes long,is a rock song,with keyboards,a'la ELP.''Poltergeist'',4.5 minutes long,is a rock song,with kind of a pop beat to it,and has a bit of violin work as well. The title track,a little over 18.5 minutes long,is broken down into 4 songs..''Forest of The Death''starts out with 2 minutes of mellotron-keyboard work,and the band starts jamming,continuing on for the next 4 minutes.Then,the song mellows down for the last 18 seconds,segueing into ''The Cursed''(4'41),which starts out with some keyboard- mellotron work,and turns into a melodic,steady paced rock song.''Darkness of the World''(2'53)segues into ''An Old Castle of Transylvania''(4'47),both of which are melodic rock songs.During the last 1'17 of an old castle of transylvania,you can hear some rain,thunder,and blowing wind sound effects.For those who like late 60's/early 70's guitar rock,with keyboards and psychadelic influences,along the lines of PINK FLOYD/DEEP PURPLE,you may like this.I got this from cd universe for US$28.50,and it was a small investment worth the price. I recommend this.the singer sings in japanese language,as well.
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Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars Where is an old castle of Transylvania? And what can exist in the castle? You can enjoy the dramatic suite with the imagination.

We can't help discussing An Old Castle Of Transylvania suite at first when we talk about the debut album by COSMOS FACTORY. There are not any brilliant hope or happiness to live at all, but dark, painful and depressive ground and sky. Tsutomu Izumi was the songwriter of this suite - for the first listening, I wondered what he was aiming at. Again and again I've listened to it, and now I can realize he should draw the picture of his death, as a dark castle in the deep forest - which could not get any bright glimmer.

The first part Forest Of The Death is just right for the depressive story. Loud, heavy and repetitive sounds with keyboards, guitars and drums - slightly heavy symphonic style rather than psychedelic one - can exactly sound as if zombies shouting loudly get up and come here one after another! Particularly Tsutomu's keyboard sounds can remind us the darkest Sodom., terrific ones! The Cursed has so melancholic voices and hearts. By the zombies, people should be cursed in the bloody river under the dead forest. Even if morning comes in the castle, and even if devils fall asleep, Darkness Of The World should be on...real morning will NEVER come into An Old Castle Of Transylvania, the last part of the suite. What a sadness, what a depression! We might not be saved anymore, might we?

Apologize for the discussion in reverse order... The first 5 short pieces are also great. With full of keyboard or mellotron sounds, almost all of Japanese rock bands in those days cannot play. Tsutomu's sensation can be shot absolutely with his another organ. Namely, the keyboard is his heart or his brain. Shinwa (Maybe) is a only song composed not by Tsutomu and (at least) I can feel this is also a only song with a hopeful development of life (though the lyric is about a lonely man - myself).

How can I explain about this great album? Heavily symphonic psychedelia? How do you feel? Please listen to it and let me know. :-)

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Posted Friday, June 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is just the beginning!

Where some bands realease a very good debut which they can't follow , other bands release a debut which only shows the band's potential which is being fully fulfilled in the next few releases. cosmos factory belongs to that second category that had to release a debut before reaching to the point of full development., not that it's a bad release god forbid...i heard far worse releases

Songs are not that progressive but more like rocky psychedelic 4 minutes long songs. i like it but it's nothing special either , thinking of other great releases that time. songs are sung in japanese which is nice , doesn't hurt your ear.. guitar sound is with heavy distortion , the riffs are slow too , there are actually no great solos either but good guitar parts and riffs. the overall sound is not rich , the rocky parts pretty much sound the same althought there are keys involved. i like their rockiness but it's the soft ballad 'soft focus' which really does it for me . clean beautiful vocals ( i can't understand a word ) with that piano and some kind of beautiful mandoline really good. 'an old castle of transylvania' is an epic divided in 4 parts , the music is still slow but there is a sense of an epic , not the greatest but it has it's moments , slightly better than the rest of the album. finally you can hear that there is a keyboard player over there , composition flows better and the guitar has more room , there is more space for every body to develop better.

The next album see the band develop a lot more , both in composition and in sound , but it's the third 'black hole' where they are kicking some serious butts!! my rating is 3.2 , nice debut but not the best place to start with this band.

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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars COSMOS FACTORY were a Japanese band from the seventies and this is their debut, a heavy psychedelic recording for the most part. Lots of organ and guitar plus some welcomed mellotron. I was actually relieved to see Damo and Sagi's 3 star ratings as quite a few people consider this a classic. I find that half of this album is very good while the other half not so much. The title suite to end the album is incredible which makes it hard not to be giving this 4 stars.

"Soundtrack 1984" is a top three for me and an instrumental. A bass/ drum intro here as mellotron rolls in. I really dig the guitar, especially after 1 1/2 minutes. "Maybe" is heavy with floating organ. How good is the mellotron and vocal melodies before a minute. The heaviness will be contrasted with the calmer vocal sections with organ. Some nice guitar before 3 minutes that goes on and on until that mellotron/ vocal melody passage from earlier is reprised. This song sounds like a late sixties tune, I really like it.

"Soft Focus" features keys and harp-like sounds and is very much a ballad with sappy vocals. "Fantastic Mirror" has an RPI vibe with the keyboard sounds. Unfortunately this is contrasted with sugary sections where the vocals just don't sound very good. Not a fan overall but it has it's moments. "Poltergeist" is bouncy with pulsating keys and drums not fitting the title of the song in my opinion. There is guest violin on this one that I'm not into, sounds like acoustic violin. The guitar, organ and violin take turns leading the way.

"An Old Castle Of Transylvania" suite includes the last four tracks and the songs blend into one another. Other than the first track this is the highlight of the album. "Forest Of The Death" is dark and brooding, experimental too with organ and synths standing out. A change after 2 1/2 minute as the drums come in and slowly build and the organ arrives with power. Check out the guitar! Great tune and top three for me. "The Cursed" continues with the darkness as the organ floats in before it all turns dramatic after a minute with the guitar and drums joining in. Vocals before 2 minutes then the guitar returns as it will come and go. Excellent!

"Darkness Of The World" is similar in sound again but more uptempo and more powerful, at least until the vocals arrive and it settles back some. Powerful organ ends it as it blends into my final top three "An Old Castle Of Transylvania". Guitar joins the powerful organ and steady drums quickly. I like how the guitar soars before 2 minutes. Mellotron follows then vocals before 3 minutes. A minute later we get this stunning ending of thunder cracks, rain and wind. It's like your right there in this wild storm.

As I said earlier there's so much on here that cries 4 stars yet at the same time we get plenty of less than steller passages that have me wondering why they went that route. Well worth checking out if your into Psychedelic music.

Report this review (#1609969)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2016 | Review Permalink

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