04. Fermi Paradox
08. Zeta Reticuli
Imagine the wondrous soundscapes of Scale The Summit, only instead of earthy scenes of plainlands, canyons, and mountain ranges, Polish bedroom producer Piotrek Gruszka’s (who also goes by the moniker Gru) brand of instrumental progressive metal invokes images of the ethereal bodies that occupy outer space.
That is really all that needs to be said to convince the lot of you who haven’t heard Cosmogenesis yet to give it a listen. We’re very late on reviewing this album as it came out last year, but Cosmogenesis has been mentioned on Heavy Blog several times, so it should be nothing new. If you somehow haven’t noticed or decided to ignore Piotrek Gruszka because of preconceptions of being just another djent artist with nothing new to bring to the table, then think again.
As mentioned above, the imagery in the tracklist is decidedly very Scale The Summit-esque, but with the music featuring a heavier focus on jazz fusion influences that are reminiscent of more laid-back Animals as Leaders tracks. The influences are obvious, sure, but Gru molds them together in a way that is entirely his own. There’s a definite signature sound going on here that will be one day unmistakable; just as Cloudkicker fans can pick out Ben Sharp’s style of playing or how Misha Mansoor has his own style in Periphery, Gru has a voice all his own.
Cosmogenesis is a fitting title, as the album sounds like the soundtrack to the creation of the universe. Cosmogenesis plays like an actual album, too, instead of a string of songs tied together as an afterthought. Things are typically homogeneous enough to hold a strong theme and style throughout the 30-minute runtime, but the songs are catchy enough in their own right to stand apart as unique tracks. This is no easy feat, and Gru should be commended. Unlike a lot of albums that focus on a pattern of heavy technical virtuosity, Gru likes to step back and let songs evolve with feeling rather than needlessly wanking all over some polyrhythms and calling it a day. The technicality is brought, without a doubt, but things get crazy only when the song calls for an intense delivery. Every song is beautiful and thought out, not as a showoff of his skills as a player. The proggy riffs and hyper-melodic leads and solos are moving pieces with discernible levels of emotion being put into them. I don’t know how he manages to make every song this catchy, but he pulls it off with expertise.
Gru, like his contemporaries in the DIY metal zeitgeist, is more than just a talented guitarist; the production on Cosmogenesis is sleek and clear where others may fall flat. For example, Animals as Leaders’ debut album is plagued by flat production and drums so fake it’s almost distracting. While it won’t take much thought to figure out that the drumming on Cosmogenesis is programmed, they’re fairly convincing and certainly don’t sound so obvious. The often neglected bass is also very prominent in the album’s sound, adding character to the album’s heavier parts where the tone pops out and becomes just as important as the guitar.
Just in case this wasn’t clear, this is not a djent album. There are polyrhythms going on here, and while Cosmogenesis sits comfortably among that crowd, this album is deeply rooted in jazz fusion and progressive metal. The obsession with low-end groove, staccato riffing, and that one guitar tone isn’t the point Gru wants to make; he transcends that scene into guitar virtuosity. Cosmogenesis is a stunningly beautiful album with little flaw or drawback and should be heard by anyone interested in progressive or guitar-centric music.
The album is also absolutely free, so you really have no excuse outside of being a generally terrible person. You’re better than that though, I’m sure.