Cosmic Overlord - Non Compos Mentis

Cosmic Overlord Non Compos Mentis cover
Cosmic Overlord
Non Compos Mentis
Record Heaven
Not only is Scandinavia a breeding ground for killer traditional heavy metal (and yes, black metal), but also a mecca for compelling doom/stoner metal acts such as Norway’s Devil and Kal-El or Finland’s (that is one of the Nordic countries) Reverend Bizarre and Fvneral Fvkk, for instance. It’s now time to include Umeå, Sweden’s Cosmic Overlord to that list thanks to the not-too-spavined quartet, which last month released its debut full-length, “Non Compos Mentis” (“not sane or in one’s right mind”, for those whose Latin is flagging), a half-hour, six track and juggled tempo affair which readily brings to mind Orange Goblin’s earlier – as well as quirkier – ventures, namely its “Frequencies from Planet Ten” and “The Big Black” albums.
Actually, the only track I’d outright qualify as dredging “doom” would be the closer, “Final Sacrifice”, with its down-tuned, repeatedly bending riffs and phat, swamping drum beats which unfalteringly maintain a steady and uncompromising pace. Otherwise, “Non Compos Mentis” is structurally chock full of moving parts; the sludgy, arch-typical opening crawl and slow zig zagging riff of “Mantric Wave” soon yields a more upbeat rhythm which, after briefly reverting to its former slither, drops the dime with some chime-y atmospherics and a pleasantly mellow and luxurious lead before the bass and guitar swell back to both nascent forms.
Alternatively, the placid and easy-going hi-hat kicking off “God Has Failed” sets the table for a swinging pentatonic shuffle which soon totters into a wobbly wall-climbing bass line and spaced out, rickety lead-driven guitar snooze fest as well as a clownish, circus sounding and reverb’d guitar lick highly reminiscent of the aforementioned Orange Goblin circa 2000.
In other words, Cosmic Overlord manages to avoid frustrating doom metal contrivances i.e. the kind of slow and banal riffing, which fails to set a band apart from its peers or provide it with any sort of memorable hallmark. Thankfully, this isn’t the case here as even the eight-minute mastodon, which is the tritely titled “Infernal Sabbath” succeeds at shaking off its somewhat humdrum and yawning disposition. Starting with a military style drum roll and wavy bass line/dreamily peaceful guitar progression, it unequivocally evolves into said run-of-the-mill molasses languor, but to its credit steers left – that is, off the beaten (to death) path – halfway in with a funk-a-fried, OG (“Nuclear Guru”) evoking interlude highlighted by gyrating and purling mini-lead vapors, which further lend an air of picaresque bonhomie to this otherwise dyed-in-the-wool doom cut.
All things considered, a big benefiting factor to the debut’s laid-back appeal is its rather short length, as well as varying track lengths; to wit, the short, sitar-esque 2.5 minute percussion and backwards allocution driven “The Deep” effectually splits the record in half. Were the album any longer, even by one track or an additional five minutes, the listener would surely begin to feel wary and despondently burned out. As it is, Cosmic Overlord can easily be classified as an upbeat and hip genre purveyor worth checking out, especially for the blobbing and cranked out “Acid Storm”, likely my top pick out of the bunch thanks to its hilariously catchy chorus and drawling stupor, enhanced ever so by its schizophrenic instrumental hijinks, as well as the vocalist’s far-out and somewhat nasal provocations.
The clear, un-muddied level of production also greatly behoves the band’s amusing and conservatively eclectic demeanor as everything from the bass and drums to the vocals and guitar are on an even keel while distributed fairly evenly on every track. To sum up, I sure hope the Swedes keep flogging this live horse on their sophomore foray.