Review: Cosmic Church – Täyttmys

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Label: Kuunpalvelus

And so, farewell to one of underground black metal’s most intriguing acts. Täyttymys is the swansong from Cosmic Church, and whilst it would be inaccurate to say that the solo act was ever one of the biggest names in underground black metal, they were certainly one of the more promising. Previous album Ylistys was (or should have been) a modern classic, full of atmospheric black metal, just on the right side of raw whilst still possessing a real sense of grandeur, tapping in to something bigger than humanity. Täyttymys picks up where that album (and previous EP Vigillia) left off, summoning grandiose, genuinely epic black metal that feels as if it is more than just music, and is instead trying to communicate something fundamental to existence.

It should be noted that, when I say Täyttymys is an album of epic black metal, I don’t mean this in an Emperor/Cradle of Filth/Dimmu Borgir sense of keyboards and pomp. Instead, it is epic in the sense of its ambition and scale – whilst most black metal (and most metal of any genre) is content to simply offer up some tremolo riffs, fast drumming, and shrieked vocals, Täyttymys instead feels as if it seeking to be something bigger. It’s not an album that is primarily about enjoyment (though it is highly enjoyable); instead, it feels like something much deeper, almost religious and spiritual in character and tone.

To expand on this further: when I say religious, I do not mean so in any sense of organised religion – whether Christian, Satanic, or otherwise. Instead, it is religious in a pagan sense, hearkening back to days of worshiping the sun and nature, finding one’s place within a larger cycle and understanding your place in the world. Täyttymys is about being at one with your surroundings; not of mastery of nature, but of co-existence and respect.

Some of which might sound slightly unusual for black metal – whilst nature-inspired black metal is hardly unusual, for an album to have end results like this is much more unusual. Täyttymys is not about constructing some mythical fantasy about the forests and mountains; nor is it about cartoon versions of demons. Instead, via the medium of largely mid-tempo riffs interspersed with faster, tremolo-picked moments, tasteful keyboards, and vocals buried slightly in the mix, it is an album about being connected to the world. There is little sense of the hate and nihilism whilst most black metal is built upon – rather, Täyttymys is a strangely uplifting album, and that the album title translates to “fulfillment” is no accident.

Of course, I may be utterly mis-understanding what Cosmic Church are aiming to achieve with this, their final album. Yet, that the promo was sent out without any press sheet implies that the band actively want listeners to find their own meaning regarding the album (a very unusual move – most press releases I receive are very keen to say, “this is what the album is about”, and leave little open to interpretation). As such, Täyttymys is an album that invites questioning, exploration, and a sense of discovery – both musically and otherwise. It is a superb album, and it is a shame that it will be the final offering from Cosmic Church – but what a way to go!

Täyttymys is available digitally via Bandcamp, and on CD from Kuunpalvelus. A vinyl version is due at some point in 2019.

 

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