Mighty Cosmic Dances

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On Mighty Cosmic Dances, the Czech Republic's Oblomov launch black metal into outer space -- a not entirely unexplored frontier thanks to previous excursions by Switzerland's Samael (see the legendary Passage album) and Sweden's Vintersong, among others (check out their Cosmic Genesis LP, and beyond) -- but still novel enough compared to the usual pagan rituals performed in snowy forests. Even better, the members of Oblomov frequently adorn their traditional black metal foundations of spat vocals, buzzsaw guitars, invisible bass, and percussive blastbeats with unexpected elements. These include devices as simple as counterpoint slower passages ("Mentality Failure," "Nostalgic Idealization"); striking guitar melodies ("Redefinition of the Past," "1 of the 4," "Dreamworks"); synthesizers inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey (the excellent "Starsend," plus the album's mood-setting intro and outro); and even saxophones ("Lost Between Emotions"), in a nod to the original space-faring rockers, '60s heavyweights Hawkwind. And for a final touch, the instrumentally versatile members of Oblomov (each contributes any number of sounds here) take obvious pride in harvesting their lyrics from the works of sci-fi authors like Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, as well as scientific philosopher and historian Thomas S. Kuhn. In the end, the results are so refreshing that even the blackest-minded metal heads may find themselves wishing there were more synths, for a change! Maybe they'll crop up on Oblomov's next deep space mission, which will hopefully arrive sooner than later.

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