Kosmogyr are a bit of a curiosity even in a scene dominated by odd ducks. The duo's members Xander Cheng (a native of Shanghai, China) and Ivan Belcic (who used to dwell in Shangai but is now based in Prague, Czech Republic) have taken the now-common black metal trope of long distance collaboration to a new level. Luckily, their new album, Evternity, shows that the twain may be separated by geography, but are thoroughly in sync in terms of skill level of intent.
Their take on atmospheric black metal—which was cosseted and refined over the course of two years—is emotive, fluid, and relentlessly pretty, with a hypnotic sort of Ash Borer in furs vibe that calls for repeated listens. The lush guitar harmonies are the star attraction here, floating imperiously above the weighty half-organic rhythm section, but there are precious few weak links overall—the album is remarkably cohesive given its fragmented birth.
Evternity is the band's first proper full-length, but they made a few waves last year with the release of their “Quiescent” single, which appeared on the Black Metal Alliance's Crushing Intolerance Vol. 5 compilation in support of the Indigenous Environmental Network (it also appeared on We Are Shanghai Vol. 5 comp). It was certainly an auspicious and principled way to introduce their baby to the world, but now, guitarist/bassist Cheng and vocalist/drum programmer Belcic are reaching higher. Both are (or were) involved in other bands—The Arcbane for Cheng, and The Machinery of Other Skeletons and Death to Giants. for Belcic—but Kosmogyr represents an effort to reach a broader audience, while satisfying their own creative impulses.
"Kosmogyr has enabled us to delve into genres and influences that we'd both been previously unable to explore with our other projects," the band told Noisey in a collective statement. "We strove to blend together aspects of Second Wave black metal as well as its more recent permutations into a sound centered around our favorite aesthetic elements of the genre, and Eviternity is the result of this process. From its inception, this band has been an immensely fulfilling experience for us both, and we’re eagerly looking forward to where it will go from here."
The album will see a digital release on March 9, with a physical CD to follow via Flowing Downward, a new sub-label from Avantgarde Music, on March 30, 2018. Listen to the album in full below, and preorder the CD here.
Kim Kelly is shimmering away on Twitter.