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Cosmograf - Mind Over Depth CD (album) cover

MIND OVER DEPTH

Cosmograf

 

Neo-Prog

3.82 | 68 ratings

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TCat
4 stars Cosmograf is a Neo-Prog project from multi-instrumentalist Robin Armstrong from England. Armstrong plays most of the instruments on his albums, but often recruits guests to help out on occasion. He has released 7 full length albums under the Cosmograf moniker since 2009. The 7th album is called "Mind Over Depth" which was released in April of 2019 and it features guests Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) playing bass on the first 2 tracks, and also Kyle Fenton on drums and backing vocals. The music on the album centers around using the power of the mind to help us rise above our status in life. There are 5 long tracks that have a total runtime of over 45 minutes.

"A Million Choices" opens the album with the longest track at over 11 minutes. It fades in slowly with processed spoken vocals and a mysterious sounding atmosphere made by various synths and keys. It slowly builds with a cinematic feel until heavy power chords from guitars and drums kick in after 2 minutes. The guitar takes the melodic spotlight and bring in vocals. Vocals continue until after 5 minutes after which the guitars continue with a heavy prog sound not unlike Porcupine Tree's later sound. Later sung vocals and the same spoken vocal style from the beginning trade back and forth while the guitars thump along and eventually take over with a solo. Just before the 10 minute mark, things calm down and become atmospheric with symphonic sounding synths and wordless vocals and the volume builds again to finish off with another guitar solo.

"Godspeed" starts pensively with keys and vocals before a slower beat starts and pushes things forward. This 9 minute track again has that PT style and, as expected, heavy guitars and rhythm soon take over, but keeping things at a moderately slow tempo. Robin's vocals are more unique however, and can become quite solid at times while other times can be somewhat vulnerable sounding. An echo effect is used on his vocals as later as the track continues. There are also some nice harmonies on the choruses. Things get suddenly darker before the 6 minute mark, and guitars and bass churn out a solid and ominous sound. Vocals also continue during this time and play a more important part than on the first track.

"The Smoke and the Flame" is a more standard sounding song which starts with a guitar/synth introduction with a straightforward sound and theme, then calms before the vocals start. The singing is backed by sustained synth notes and a somewhat softer rhythm section, the chorus being a bit more intense, but still seeming to hold back a bit. Again calm returns with a Gilmour style guitar and spoken words in the background. When the 2nd verse comes in, the same pattern repeats. After 5 minutes, a heavy and excellent guitar driven section comes in after which the chorus repeats and the track soon ends.

"Sharks" goes back to a heavy, dark sound starting with strong guitars, then calming, staying dark and ominous when the vocals start. Alternating heavy and soft sections continue, things remain dark, synths give things a symphonic feel and the track remains dynamic and changing, alternating from a Neo sound to a more Heavy Prog sound, but always retaining that mysterious and dark texture. There is a layered vocal "slide" downward in there that is pretty effective in the overall sinister feel of the track. This is a great track with some effective dynamics throughout.

The last track is "Goodbye to All Illusions". It fades in with a bubbling synth loop and atmospheric guitar in the background. There are some mysterious sounding spoken vocals that retain the dark sound of the preceding track. Soon, a deep synth pushes towards a sudden increase in intensity as more guitar comes in and churns along supporting another guitar playing a theme. At 4 minutes, things calm again and some nice keyboards take over, changing the texture to a more plush sound and an electronic drum beat comes in while falsetto vocals come in, and then the heavy guitar comes back in to support the singing. The track returns the mysterious style as it comes to a close.

This is the first album I have heard from Cosmograf, but apparently this album is more guitar driven than the previous albums by the project. I do know that it does have that Heavy Prog sound that seems to be similar to Porcupine Tree's later music, but there are times when a more Neo Prog sound does come in. There are some very strong tracks here that I consider the highlights, those being the first two tracks and "Sharks". The other two tracks are a bit weaker, but not terrible by any means, just not as interesting. Overall, this is a good effort and a decent album, and those that love the Heavy Prog sound will love this, but some Neo-Prog fans might find it a little too guitar heavy. There isn't anything really groundbreaking here, but there is still some really great and strong music which mostly stays on the dark side as far as texture goes. Anyway, it's an effort that is well done, and manages to make a 4 star level.

TCat | 4/5 |

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