Cosmic Child came through a little thin on the promo information (and in fact prior to listening to it for the first time, I didn’t even know the name of the album – so much for embedded album info) at any rate, I figured alright, close your eyes, hit play and go from there – how bad can it be right? The band name conjured up images of something with a Finntroll flavor – tell me a band name like New Keepers of the Water Towers doesn’t sound even remotely folky and troll-like right? It actually ended up being absofuckinglutely nothing like Finntroll, go figure! This is New Keepers of the Water Towers third full length, and I now know it’s a drastic departure from their earlier less impressive offerings. Cosmic Child comes at you more like a welcome mishmash between the retro, oldtimeyness of Sabbath, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, the celestial feel of Melencolia Estatica, the psychedelia of Horseback, the progressiveness of Opeth (pre-Heritage meltdown, so more Ghost Reveries), the grungy, sludgyness of Alice in Chains and with just a smidge of 10 000 Days Tool thrown in for good measure – what you end up with is something akin to the epic, greatness that is Anathema’s Weather Systems [Sold! — Steel Druhm].
New Keepers of the Water Towers hail from Stockholm, Sweden and rather than sticking to the tried and tested and then re-tested melodic death formula Sweden is synonymous for, these lads have taken progressive, doom, psychedelia and stoner elements reminiscent of the 60s and 70s and molded and shaped them into something cleverly accessible while still being complex and interesting to the well-trained ear. Semi angelic in amid the deranged is how I would describe opener “The Great Leveller.” The track flows along in surreal, ambient Tool-like fashion with mighty clever note choice and some pretty intricate scales that grow with, and add to the interplay between the vocal melody and the main riff (reminiscent of early Sabbath). As an opener this track resonates through your mind long after the track is done!
What follows is a 40 odd minute journey of intricate, unconventional, blissful magic incorporating instrumental elements reminiscent of Zeppelin (“Visions of Death”), a blend of Pink Floyd and Opeth (“Lapse”) melded together with the appealing and attractiveness of Layne Staley era Alice in Chains vox all flawlessly delivered by vocalist and guitarist Rasmus Booberg. Not only does Rasmus have the vocal ability to project vulnerability and power in equal measures into every corner of Cosmic Child, but his clear and in-depth knowledge of Steve Vai’s quirkiness make him a force to be reckoned with. (I have it on good authority that the kit used on this recording – in particular the classic 1980 Yamaha SG electric and Ibanez 1976 Artist – have the power to make a grown man or woman weep).
This album has the feel of an epic concept album with the longer tracks being made up of movements that lead seamlessly from one to one another. The mix is modern and clean allowing you to pick up on each and every delicate intricacy spread throughout Rasmus and Victor’s appealing and attractive guitar riffs and melodies and of course Tor’s ferociously focused drum work that holds it all together.
New Keepers of the Water Towers have evolved into a band you need to keep your eye on and this foray into the dark side of life and death is their finest achievement yet! I have no single favorite song, each track holds something special (from the distinctly Celtic percussion secreted away in “Visions of Death,” the big interesting dissonances that resolve into absolute sweetness in “Lapse” right through into the grand finale where it all comes together – the instrumental floating cosmossyness of “The Cosmic Child.” I could almost swear I’ve lost my angry after listening to this (gasp) [listen to the new Stratovarius, that will make you angry again! — Steel Druhm].