Sometimes, when you know you’re ready to walk away from a project, it centers your creative faculties in a way that propels the project to its artistic zenith. This is exactly what Finland’s Cosmic Church has accomplished on its final album, Täyttymys.
I’d run into the project before in my frequent journeys through the internet for new black metal bands to check out. The one-man project of Luxixul Sumerin popped up on Spotify’s “Related Artist” section for another Finnish band (I think it was Baptism). I was first struck by the artwork for 2013′ Ylistys, which featured a figure in red seated in prayer on a snowy landscape. The album was interesting, its style exhibiting a push-and-pull between modern atmospheric black metal and the standard raw/melodic style associated with Luxixul’s Finnish bretheren. But the songs were very long, two of them clocking in at over 14 minutes. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I need to be in the right mood and setting to get into something that ambitious.
The complete opposite is true of Täyttymys. The song lengths are kept under control, and the album exhibits more ferocious intensity than its predecessor. This adds an energy to the devotional hymns that brings a whole panoply of moods and colors for the listener to imagine and explore. I could listen to this album all day. It’s a triumph that reminds me of Obsequiae’s brilliant 2015 album, Aria of Vernal Tombs, in that it takes a host of familiar sounds and combines them into a meaningfully unique statement.
Additionally, its odes to natural forces and the cosmos don’t just amount to album covers with planets and song titles ripped from a Carl Sagan book. On the contrary, the lyrics represent a oneness with nature that leans toward pantheism, going just far enough without anthropomorphizing the subject. Here’s an excerpt from “Armolahja”:
You are the forests, mountains, the earth and the air
And as I bown down on my altar of moss
I find your perfect essence in this soil, cleansed by rain
And as I lift my gaze towards the sunset
I see your eyes blazing at me
So brightly, so perfectly
My goddess, my savior
In one sense, it’s too bad that Cosmic Church won’t give us more music at this caliber (though the Vigilia EP comes close). But in another, this simply increases the album’s value. Besides, Luxixul is also active in Aura Saturnal, Frozen Graves and Asymmetry, so we haven’t heard the last of him.
Täyttymys is currently available on Bandcamp for listening (or re-listening, again and again…), and will be granted a CD release later this month. Listen to “Armolahja” below.