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Gru - Cosmogenesis CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.07 | 70 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Cosmogenesis' - Gru (9/10)

It's rather amazing to hear what one man is able to do with his guitar. While it's true that Polish act is not alone in being one of a great many one-man bands in the rather new scene of 'djent' progressive metal, I have to say that there are few that sound so tight and proficient as this. The work of Piotrek Gruszka, Gru has not appeared to have received much well-deserved recognition since the release of this debut in 2010. It's a shame really, because "Cosmogenesis" stands out as being one of the best instrumental prog metal albums I have heard in recent years. An uplifting grab bag of atmosphere, rhythmic experimentation, and beautiful melody, this short album only leaves me wanting more.

The first thing that stands out on "Cosmogenesis" are the production standards, which are remarkably high for an independent effort. Although the drums are programmed- a gripe I often contend with listening to one-man projects- it is engineered with precision and technical proficiency that I don't often see, even in many of the better known artists. Of course, Piotrek's guitar wizardry is the primary focus of Gru. An entirely instrumental record, "Cosmogenesis" is dominated by his axework. On paper, I would have imagined that this formula would entail a 'virtuoso' approach to the music, where the performance is meant to demonstrate the extent of his skill as a musician. I was only half-right to believe this; although the music never relents in its complexity, Gruszka proves himself through a great variety of techniques. More often than not, Gru impresses not through his leads and 'solos', but rather in his ability to craft vast soundscapes and rhythms with his work. It's as intense and technical a listen as I could hope for in a one-man act, but it never sounds narcissistic.

Animals As Leaders is likely the closest thing I could compare Gru to. Like Tosin Abasi, Piotrek Gruszka works many of his riffs around rhythm. Although odd time signatures are a core element of much progressive metal, this 'djent' (so named after the trademark Meshuggah-derived palm-mute) sound focuses more on creating a very complex, almost hypnotic rhythm. As the opening riff of "Nebula" testifies, Gruszka creates some compelling rhythms that will twist a listener's mind as they attempt to decipher it. On the other end of the spectrum, Gru's lead playing is often very melodic and beautiful. Shredding is often tossed in exchange for jazz-infused glory.

At only 34 minutes, "Cosmogenesis" is a fairly short album when compared to the 'average' nowadays. It does work in the album's favour however; the music is consistent in its challenge, and I'm not sure I would have liked the album so much if I had been bombarded with a full hour's worth of carnage. Suffice to say, Gru deserves a much greater deal of recognition than he has thus far. Cerebral rhythms, tight musicianship, and a futuristic atmosphere make "Cosmogenesis" among the very best djent albums I have ever heard.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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