Eddie Lascu The Cosmic Year 25-Oct-2008

Let's leave the creationism theory aside for a second and let's consider the whole time interval since the Big Bang to present days. That's what, a mere 13.78 billion years ? Now let's compact that into a single year. Do you know what date was when Milky Way was formed? When life appeared on Earth? When humans became the dominant species on our planet? How about the last second of the last day of this cosmic year? For how many years did it last?

You can find answers to all these questions listening to 'The Cosmic Year' by Cosmics, a new Daniele Liverani project. Before I go on and tell you about what the music is like, let me say a few words about the stellar line-up of this band. Liverani is a virtuoso guitarist and keyboard player that was involved in many projects, both solo or as a band member, Twinspirits and Khymera being the most relevant ones. Although he started as a guitarist and plays guitar on many of the projects, on 'The Cosmic Year' he plays only keyboards, leaving the guitar duties to Tommy Ermolli, another accomplished Italian musician. Rufus Philpot, born in UK but transplanted in California, plays bass and he too has a very long CV including stints and collaborations with the likes of Alex Skolnick, Planet X (w/ Derek Sherinian and Virgil Donati), Simon Phillips, Allan Holdsworth, Jerry Goodman, Brett Garsed, T.J. Helmerich, Gary Novak and Chad Wackerman, just to name a few on a truly remarkable list of musicians. Last, but not at all least, Virgil Donati is the drummer. Known for his technical virtuosity, Donati is the owner of a ferocious quickness, metronomic precision, intricate phrasing and polyrhythmic chops.

Conceptually, significant milestones in the earth's history are used as source of inspiration for each song. The Big Bang, the apparition of life on Earth, dinosaurs domination and their extinction, all of these and more are present. Some songs will cover a bigger span in our planet's history, while other are more dense with events. From our human perspective, the last three days of the Cosmic Year are the most interesting, perhaps because we know little about what happened before. End of December, that's when the human species appeared on Earth and 'quickly' became the most dominant species. We have studied our own kind more than anything else, but in the Cosmic Year our existence only amounts to three days.

The album commences, just like the universe, with 'Big Bang', a very long and solid track that lays flat out the intentions of these 4 musicians. For about 8 minutes we re-witness the Big Bang, the formation of the Milky Way galaxy (1st of May), the birth of our Solar System (9th of September) and the dawn of our planet (five days later). The second track is dedicated to the beginning of life on Earth, estimated to have happened around October the 2nd. The third song is dedicated to the apparition and domination of the giants, the dinosaurs. There is a common characteristic of the first three songs in that they do not contain a single mellow note. The music is raw and powerful, as if to suggest the harsh conditions that must have existed at the beginning. Things change with song number 4, an ominous drum solo by Donati. You may have guest already, this is inspired by December 28, the day when a big asteroid slammed into Yucatan peninsula and brought life on the brink of extinction. With the next song, we are treated for the first time to some desolate, almost mournful music. This represents the global disaster that followed the impact with the flying cosmic object, 65 million years ago, or three days ago in the Cosmic Year. With Omination, song number six, the humans start to take over the planet. Musically, this is one of the highlights of the album, along with the opening track and with song number 8, 'Emperors and Gods'. The last two songs are inspired by our voyage to discover our world and other.

Instrumental progressive-metal concept album of the year? Here is your pick. Ah, and just so that you know, the last second of the Cosmic Year corresponds to the last 475 real years. We are still living it.

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