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Cosmic Rain biography
Cosmic Rain, a progressive Metal band from Geneva, Switzerland was founded at the onset of 2017. They first released an EP named Utopia, which was conceived by Laurent NIGG, the singer and guitarist of the group. In January of 2019, the band released their first full-length album entitled Seekers. With lyrics exploring philosophical themes, the music channels not only DREAM THEATER, but classic progressive rock acts as well. The performers besides Laurent are Marc JORAY on bass, Arnaud BOSCH on keyboards and Willem JOCHEMS on drums.

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 Heliopolis by COSMIC RAIN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
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Cosmic Rain Progressive Metal

Review by Steve Conrad

— First review of this album —
3 stars The Tortured Quest for Joy


In the quest for and exploration of 'happiness' we find Laurent Nigg- chief composer/lyricist/founder/philosopher (as well as vocalist and guitarist) of Geneva, Switzerland-based COSMIC RAIN- presenting a jaggedy, dark, heavy musical pastiche, laden with ideas from wildly varying sources.

While one might think in this latest EP "Heliopolis" we'd be hearing some pastoral, gentle, serene passages, instead we're treated to Nigg's trademark searing riffs, tempo changes, textures of guitar tones, and at times veering into technical death metal with blast beats and brutal growls and guttural vocals.


Not only the "city of pillars" in ancient Egypt, known as a spiritual center for the veneration of the Sun, Heliopolis is the title of this, the third COSMIC RAIN release, its second EP.

Its theme, according to Nigg, is happiness, and as I said, he draws from sources like the Stoic philosopher Seneca, Greek mythology, the Gnostic Cathars, early Romanticism, and more contemporary authors Friedrich Nietzsche and James Joyce.

And probably others.

Thinking Person's Metal

I didn't have access to lyrics for this EP (one of my current laments: if composers use lyrics, why not make them easily accessible?), so I can't comment how they do or don't support the music in which they reside, or how they further the central conceit of the EP.

The ideas though, as presented in the band's website, are far-ranging, and mostly set to adventurous progressive metal music ranging from gentle acoustic guitar all the way to quite intense and complex heavy guitar driven music.

'Approaching Heliopolis'

The EP opens with the sound of wind (an ancient depiction of 'spirit') and a chime, then lovely acoustic guitar first plucking chords, then joined by strummed chords. It's got a classical feel to it, and the sense of a journey into the spiritual center of ancient thought is launched.


The gentle classical feel gives way instantly to heavy guitar riffs, what sounds like ominous lower-register keyboard, and Nigg's distinctive clean, resonant, husky vocals enter. We first hear the growled vocal saying the title, which draws from ancient Greek mythology about a race of giants living in a blissful land far North, in which the sunshine is never interrupted.

Yet these giants sound brutal and harsh. As I said, 'irony'.

This heavy, harsh passage gives way to clean guitar, active bass, and drums, and synthesizer sounds in a complex pattern. When the heavy passage returns, the drummer does some sensational high speed playing. This tune ends with synthesizer chaos.

'Tired Sun'

We hear meditative keyboard chords, then boldly the drums usher in the band. There's clean guitar, and clean voice enters.

Bam! Heavy guitar riffs, and the brutal vocals return- then back to clean guitar, moving into chiming clean guitar, active bass guitar, and distorted lead guitar wails and moans. There's a brief gentle guitar reverie, then the intensity and growls return.

The clean guitar returns and the tune ends.

The apparent idea in this track is the person who 'appears' human, yet isn't- able to view things from an outsider's perspective, yet never fully embraced due to his/her 'otherness'.


The tune opens with meditative voice over clean guitar chords, then the band enters with heavy complex riffs. Organ sounds enter and weave in and out with cool twin guitar lines. We hear clean vocals, and things subside into the meditative voice and guitar. There are alternating clean and growled voices, with heavy riffs, giving way, only to return, with an almost jazz-inflected passage with electric guitar lead that takes us out to the end.

The idea of epiphany is that somehow in the midst of everyday life, things can fall into place, something new is introduced and it all makes sense, little effort needed.

Did I mention 'irony'? Did you notice the cover art- that sinewy being looks contorted and seems to be laboring under some serious jaggedy stress.

'The Happiest Man' (and I hope 'Woman' too)

Solemn organ chords introduce a complex synth and bass line, that then ushers in heavy guitar. There are mysterious keyboard sounds and then the lush acoustic piano playing. Reflective clean vocals enter, and we hear spoken words. Guitar riffs enter and a soaring guitar solo over complex patterns.

More growling organ sounds, then clean guitar picking chords. Harsh vocals return and there's heavy complex passage. Drumming is intense and captivating. There are more spoken words, and the guitar swoops up, then down, and the song ends on an enigmatic upswing.

Ironically, the concept here is from Stoic philosopher Seneca, who entreated readers to enjoy life and not to waste a moment of it in trying to please others or 'kill' time.


Let me sum up my impressions.

There are many concepts and many musical textures in this offering from COSMIC RAIN. The sound quality is crystalline. Every note and tone is heard clearly and well. There is a mix of clean and harsh vocals. I thought the compositions were sometimes patchwork- or 'pastiche' if you will. It may be that having the lyrics at hand would help them hang together better for me.

Each musician seems capable and proficient. I especially like the opening acoustic guitar work, the acoustic piano and keyboards- and would like to hear more of these- and the drumming was exceptional. The bassist provided good bottom end and some very agile lines throughout.

In the end, the irony may have gotten the better of me, and I'm not sure I'm 'happy' about how happiness is being presented.

My rating

Overall 3.5 jaggedy-edged stars out of 5.

Thanks to bonnek for the artist addition.

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