Iapetus – The Body Cosmic

Band: Iapetus
Title: The Body Cosmic
Label: Independent
Release Date: 09 November 2019
Country: USA 
Format reviewed: FLAC

This might not apply to everyone, but usually, metal isn’t necessarily associated with the word “fun” or with the idea of “feeling good”. Surely, we enjoy it and manage to find solace in the dissonance and angry growls, however, most of it is still about drinking blood from the skull of our enemies or exploring frostbitten forests. It could rather be linked to stress relief or catharsis. After years of burying myself under truly dark releases, I forgot how it was to feel genuine joy when I listen to music. And then I discovered IAPETUS.

I’m not completely sure where I first read about IAPETUS. I remember it was an article promoting their first single off the new album and out of habit, I added it to my Bandcamp wish-list. When I saw it was almost free, I pre-ordered it without actually checking it out, only based on the cover and so I waited patiently for the full album to form an opinion. I was definitely not prepared for the colossal 70 minutes of run-time or mammoth tracks that reach a length of 18 minutes. It’s a tad risqué to have such a long album due to the fact that it has to be diverse and engaging to not feel like a drag. So does “The Body Cosmic” stand up to the task? And to that, I answer with a resounding YES! 

I’m nothing but astonished by the masterful crafting of this, hopefully soon to become a modern classic. I never felt disengaged throughout my numerous replays. Never have I felt the need to reach for my phone and look how long was left of a song and when the album ended, it just felt right, by that meaning that the length and how the record ended was just right. IAPETUS falls in the category of bands that try to mess with genre labelling successfully. It’s true that it’s not entirely impossible to put a tag on it, for those with pedantic mannerisms, but looking for all the possible influences and focusing on these technical aspects takes away from the beautiful experience of actually listening to it. I feel a bit uneasy when thinking how to dissect “The Body Cosmic” in a way that does justice to the actual musical jewel that it is. Breaking it down into songs has an important role, which I will discuss in a moment, yet it feels like a whole and not right to take it apart. There are 9 tracks, 4 centrepieces and 5 interludes spread between them. The main songs, simply put, sound grandiose: soaring leads, which evoke melodicism, progressive elements and a child-like wonder, blackened screams, welcoming clean singing, acoustic guitars and impressive percussion all wove together a colourful tapestry of cosmic proportions, not focusing on the grand emptiness and instead heading towards unexplored astronomical bodies that might house marvels far beyond our imagination. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the fact that the universe is infinite and most of it is actually vacant, so while we fly from a celestial body to another, we are faced with the inevitable solitude, which in this case is represented through the interludes. At the end of our journey, we reach a massive star, leaving us in awe with its tremendous flares and heat that can both nourish life and end it. We take a look back to the places we passed by in this journey and then we head to new, undiscovered galaxies. 

Do you see the connection? “The Body Cosmic” actually feels like an expedition through space, exploring a planetary system, not knowing what we’ll encounter or where we’ll end up and at the same time not caring for such things. It has multiple, distinct parts that form a whole, which, if deprived of any piece, it collapses. The structure of the album clicks so satisfyingly perfect into place. Also, this record possesses an elegance rarely seen due to not being aggressive or too mellow and opting for balance instead. The production also helps to this, providing a crystal clear sound while still remaining organic.

I thought a lot how to score this album. There were times when I was searching for a flaw, not because I wanted it to be bad, but more out of curiosity if I could be enough of a nitpicker. However, I can’t name one single thing I didn’t enjoy about The Body Cosmic”. It strives to provide a sense of unity and harmony in a world plagued by entropy. In a scene dominated by hatred and violence, IAPETUS dares to stand against the current and make a plea for love. After all, we are one. We are the body cosmic. 10 Iapetus

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