Listening to Kosmos, I found myself trying to figure out what makes it, and in turn, Yob, so distinctly, well, Yobbish. This track is not their fastest, nor their slowest, nor their lowest, nor their most diverse. Maybe it’s the guitar tone, but tone tends to be one of the easier things to duplicate – how many Swedish death metal and Entombed–loving bands bought Boss’s HM2 pedal after hearing Left Hand Path? – and what other band could be mistaken for Yob?
However conjured, Yob apply this feel, this density, within their continued use of that genre most eldritch, horror. As you, my loyal readers, will no doubt recall, I described preceding track Grasping Air with another rather Lovecraft–ian term ‘pervaded with unspeakable dread’. Despite the new age title, for its first four minutes Kosmos lurks and slithers, until the pace picks up with a call and response section between the lead guitar and rhythm section three minutes in. Even then things stay trudging and dissonant.
However, when placed next to the lyrics, this atmosphere of horror presents a cognitive dissonance. I had planned to close this piece with a pithy comment like ‘You are not one with the cosmos’ or ‘I wonder what Alexander von Humboldt would make of that’ (maybe not that pithy then), but that would be to ignore lyrics like
Each breath one with the all
Hearts pulsate with the mantra
Vibrant in the kosmos
Subsonic sage drones reach to the stars
With ancient insights into the kosmos
I’ve said it before, but sometimes the pace of a song means more than the band showing you how fast they can play. Doom is slow, not just because its instigators want to sound like Black Sabbath and Sunn O))), but because this slowness allows for and encourages insight. There’s time to think; it’s cerebral, rather than physical. You don’t see many moshpits at doom gigs. However, where this philosophical approach works well with a certain kind of song, such as Catharsis or Marrow, here it left me confused. Kosmos oozes horror, and as such it’s still an effective piece of music, but I find it hard to align my chakra when I’m expecting Ktulu (I’m spelling it like Metallica, tough shit Lovecraft) to come flapping out of another dimension and expose me to the true nature of reality and thus drive me mad. This song is just too ugly to inspire any sense of peace.