Sunday, March 28, 2010

Review on "Cosmos Gaming"

Our Take

"My first encounter with California's NAME came back in late 2008, when the band sent me over a couple preview tracks of their upcoming album Internet Killed the Audio Star.  It was clear from the songs that I had access to that these guys took a great deal of influence from mathcore and hardcore bands but also had plenty of their own ideas.  Internet Killed the Audio Star was originally due out last year, but finally came out this past February.  Offering over an hour's worth of material, it appears that the group ended up being even more ambitious than I initially anticipated and the results are stunning.

As you might expect from a mathcore act, NAME's vocals do tend to favor intense screaming/growling.  However, listeners might be surprised to discover that the group has also included quite a bit of clean vocals as well.  This gives many of the songs on the album a nice level of variety and also gives listeners a bit of time to breathe, because even the screaming/growling can start to get so aggressive that it tires listeners out.  When one considers how long the album is (it clocks in at around an hour and seventeen minutes), the decision to offer some mellower vocals from time to time seems like a smart one.  However, it is worth mentioning that when clean singing is utilized it sometimes seems a little weak and this is one area that NAME could certainly keep working on.  It isn't a very big issue, but if the group was to tighten up this style a bit they could probably utilize more often and add even more variety to their material.

 NAME's instrumentalists have clearly been influenced by a wide variety of music styles and it comes out in their music.  As I mentioned earlier, the entire album lasts for over an hour and in this period of time the group offers everything from spastic mathcore to jazz inspired experimental metal.  There are a few moments here and there where things feel slightly disjointed, but for the most part things flow very well.  The four part "Empathetic Communicator" is a perfect example of the group really hitting their stride, as there is a perfect blend of atmospheric melodies and heavy hitting riffs.  Compared to many of the other metal bands out there, NAME is easily one of the most unclassifiable due to just how many different elements they are able to combine.  It may be a lot to take in all at once, but once you've given this disc a few spins it becomes clear of just how brilliant it is.

There are some slight issues with the clean vocals, but that shouldn't stop anyone from checking out Internet Killed the Audio Star.  NAME may have taken a long time to get this album out, but the wait has certainly been worth it.  If these guys can keep this kind of experimentation up, they could end up being one of the most exciting bands that the scene has spawned in the past few years."

Chris Dahlberg

March 26, 2010

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