Guardian of Lightning – Cosmos Tree Review

Heavy metal. Rock n’ roll. Attitude. Swagger. These are all good things, and if you can blend them together just right, they can create a great thing. Brazilian upstarts, Guardian of Lightning call their style of music “thunder metal” and they employ a lead bass in lieu of the traditional lead guitar as a kind of secret weapon. On their Cosmos Tree debut, this beefy threesome openly threatens you with a good time, taking a stoner metal style with plenty of attitude and making it as weighty and burly as possible. There are nods to The Necromancers, Mötörhead, Monster Magnet and Kyuss over the course of this scabrous pub crawl, and you’ll quickly find that these cats can indeed rock and are exceptionally easy to root for, even if things aren’t always 100% successful on the road to Party Town.

After a short, trippy intro that sounds like Hexvessel getting carjacked, you get smacked upside the gob by the thunder metal sound of the raucous title track. Hefty riffs are supplemented by the very present, domineering bass sound of Iron King, and the stripped down style is rounded out well by rough, whiskey-soaked vocals. The song is basic, direct but lots of fun, and it rocks harder than a Colorado avalanche. The bass noodling and soloing of Iron King reminds of bass bigs like Lemmy and Cliff Burton1, and it’s quite refreshing to hear the instrument so front and center in an era where it’s often relegated to the Lost and Found Department. Better still, Mr. Iron doesn’t overdo it with the whole “lead bass” shtick and go all Joey DeMaio on your ass. There are no “Black Arrows”” awaiting you here, but you’ll always know the King is ruling the land. Cuts like “Raise Your Sword” and “Sound of Thunder” are lean as fook and ready to rumble, evincing a keen ear for simple rock hooks. There’s a palpable swagger and sauciness to the delivery and the music conveys a rowdy, rollicking energy enhanced by the unpolished, rough around the edges vibe the album exudes.

“Follow Your Silver Shine” struts and swings in a strident, cocky manner, and “Inside of Us” has an addictive riff line and a kind of hypnotically undulating groove that keeps you locked in as King and guitarist Marco duel it out. While not every song is a knock out, there are no bad tracks, and the 33 minute runtime all but guarantees Cosmos Tree will be a fast, easy spin. That said, the first half is significantly stronger than the last, with the song quality slowly declining almost perfectly in order of presentation.

This is clearly the Iron King road show, and a show he puts on. He’s adept at using his bass as the prime mover of the material, but his overall restraint is quite admirable. He doesn’t Yngwie himself into the middle of every moment and he knows when to interject and when to lay back. He gives Marco plenty of space for his stoner riffs and accentuates them rather than overpowering them. I’m a fan of King’s style and I’m left wanting to hear much more from him. Marco does a fine job playing second fiddle on guitar, crafting some sweet and catchy riff lines, and I love his raw vocals which borrow from Lemmy and Tom Cornière-David of The Necromancers. Lord Drum2 also does yeoman’s work on the kit, pounding away with lusty enthusiasm. This is not complex, high brow music, and you could call it caveman stoner if you were being indelicate. It works though, and that’s what matters.

While hardly a wood carving for the ages, Cosmos Tree is a fun if flawed debut from an act I intend to keep a ear out for in the future. If you want something, basic, beefy and beer-tastic, this is a tree you need to climb. It’s a nice little escape in these unpleasant and stressful times we’re all experiencing, and I’m thankful that these three wise cavemen opted to forgo fancy in favor of fun.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Eclipse Records
Releases Worldwide: July 14th, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Double R.I.P.
  2. No relation.
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