Album Review: Blazar – Fatal Cosmic Wound

Album Review: Blazar - Fatal Cosmic Wound
Reviewed by Sam Jones

Not originally on my list of records for 2024, Blazar’s debut full length album, Fatal Cosmic Wound, is a Funeral Doom metal record poised for an early March release. Formed in 2017 out of Catalonia, Spain, the band’s first releases consist of an EP titled Phase Omega, soon followed by a Split with God’s Funeral a year later. Another Split, with Tort, came out in 2021, but prior to this album announcement there had been little else, other than to showcase the work and time spent on getting Fatal Cosmic Wound just right. A little tease of their riffs was all I needed to decide I should check this out, releasing through Carbonized Records, for a March 1st release date. Let’s look to these Spaniards and what they’ve cooked up with these massive slab of Doom. This is Fatal Cosmic Wound.

I’ll give Blazar credit for atmosphere as they don’t just batter your senses from the opening seconds; their record eases us in before they hit you with the fully weight of their clenched fist. However, what I did find interesting was how Blazar methodically broke up their album into clearly defined segments so we aren’t being completely crushed from one track to the next. Given that the band are playing Funeral Doom and isn’t exactly going to be the lightest thing we’ll hear today, Blazar recognise the fundamental need to provide some levity to our listening experience. After two tracks were given a small atmospheric piece that, whilst continuing the overall vibe this record possesses, provides us with a momentary relief to recharge and relieve ourselves of the weight the band had otherwise been pressing down on us. These smaller pieces are only brief, though had they not been included it would have made for an altogether more strangling experience; the band’s are constantly across our throat although, this application of structure used, it ensures their hands aren’t so completely and firmly closed over our throat at all times.

When the band do finally choose to hit you in the face, the immensity of their guitar tone is what you’ll feel first. Reminding me of Conan’s own tone, Blazar harness a guitar sound that’s utterly impossible to ignore due to how compact and total it feels as well as the patience they have in between notes. Funeral Doom is associated with great-spanning tracks that enable the audience to become entirely sucked in to their atmospheres; Fatal Cosmic Wound does that well since when a note or chord is played out for impact there’s sometimes very little accompanying it. As a result, when the band wish to, they hit like a steamroller since there’s little else potentially distracting you from the overwhelming power their riffs entail. But sometimes there are moments where the guitar riffs fall back completely, and the bass and drumming take centre stage, with not even the vocals playing a part. In this manner, Blazar see to it their lengthy runtimes aren’t waning on their audience; people may have their expectations for what Funeral Doom will give them but that doesn’t mean bands can’t still try and keep their songwriting engaging as Blazar have done so herein.

Album Review: Blazar - Fatal Cosmic Wound

The vocals make a nice change from what you’d expect from such a release. Funeral Doom, predominantly helmed by baritone, hyper deep vocal deliveries can make an already crushing record absolutely unfathomable and, by extension, even tougher for the audience to bear. It’s why, given the band’s choice of vocals, it’s a good thing to see, since Blazar’s songwriting and atmosphere is already consistent with all the crushing connotations Funeral Doom aspires to demonstrate. Had they implemented a more traditional delivery with these riffs, it would have been completely suffocating had that been their purpose but, by using a more visceral snarling, drooling style it provides the band a stronger, malicious edge many Funeral Doom acts aren’t likely to exhibit. Sure, some bands in this subgenre will sound heavier somewhat yet, Fatal Cosmic Wound feels more well rounded and realised as a full album rather than focusing solely on sheer tone and power alone. With this said, the vocals rest nicely in the mix too since they’re never drowned out by the rest of the band. Atmospherically they suit as well, since the band’s riffs harbour an intrinsically more savage ambience than being mere slabs of tone. There’s an evil to the band’s sound which the vocals excellently complement.

Sometimes, within doom metal and its varying intensities, you’ll find the bands in question are willing to speed up their assault. While this isn’t usually doom metal’s forte it can be done to varying success, but Blazar forgo all concept of speed or haste with their pacing as they show you fundamentally that you’ll be glued to this record as it slowly, eventually, trundles along with not a hint in sight to suggest things will quicken at all. See to the drums; at no instance do the drums infer the band’s pacing will pick up at any point. From one track to the next the drums are performing precisely what you’d think they do, they don’t try and burst into spontaneous blast beats all of a sudden nor do they explode with ferocious double bass drumming; but in this case it’s strangely relieving since we come to understand Blazar aren’t seeking to pull off any hidden or late surprises, especially when the record nears it’s end. It’s predictability, oddly, becomes a comfort since we understand Blazar understand the assignment that is Funeral Doom and stuck to the formula what we know works. It’s Funeral Doom as described on the tin; you know firmly what you’re getting and Blazar don’t try and sugarcoat their sound as anything other than what you’d think it would be.

In conclusion, Blazar showcase that Extreme Metal doesn’t always need to try and shake things up for a record to be entertaining and engaging. Fatal Cosmic Wound possesses nought that you haven’t heard from another record of this style a dozen times before, but what can be said regarding Blazar is their commitment to staying the course. The band’s songwriting could be labelled as restrictive and hemmed in by other acts who would prefer to be more flamboyant in their experimentation, but it works for the sound that Blazar are at home with. There’s little else going on to occupy our attention that’s steering us away from their concrete tone and, frankly, it’s good to see. Shutting away any other elements ensures the audience is totally focused on the main songwriting at hand and thus, any riffs that come our way feel much more powerful since we’re also not expecting anything else peculiar to crop up within the songwriting either. Fatal Cosmic Wound is a by-the-books Funeral Doom record but there’s nothing wrong with that; I still had a good time and I’m confident many others will too.

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