Cosmic Warfare

From 2004 to 2017 Wintersun, the bloated,much-maligned, crowd-funded (begged) project of Jari Mäenpää has produced 3 albums and has released nothing since  2017s The Forest Seasons, other than a few compilations and single. (despite seemingly asking for money eery few months)

Since 2017, Canada’s Atavistia has released 3 quality albums including 2020s excellent The Winter Way, and their newest, 2023 opus, Cosmic Warfare, which is in running for one of my top albums of 2023 so far and might be the most epic, bombastic rousing album of 2023 when it’s all said and done.

So, on Cosmic Warfare Atavistia, as they did on The Winter Way, basically continue to ‘out-Wintersun’ Wintersun– by a long margin as well as they deliver yet another album of Xanthrocroid/Ensiferum on crack/ Wintersun worshipping grandiose blackened power metal in the same vein as their Canadian comrades like Blackguard/Profugus Mortis, Crimson Shadows, Vesperia/Bolero, Battlesoul. Will of the Ancients, Nordheim, Valfreya and such. 

And on Cosmic Warfare, they have improved at every level, with more consistent quality songwriting rather than a couple of good songs alone, as Cosmic Warfare is downright magnificent from start to Finnish (misspelling pun fully intended). The recipe is the same, blasting, rousing heavily synth/orchestra/choir-filled Finnish bombast, and my god, the orchestration is absolutely top-notch and some of the most epic stuff I’ve heard this year.

From the opening title track (after the intro) the album just delivers such a high level of shredding,  massive orchestral bombast, and black-ish metal it’s sometimes overwhelming. There’s no denying the Ensiferum and Wintersun influence, but fucking hell, do they take it to the next level.

“Ethereal Wanderer” slows things down a bit, replete with some cleaner vocals. They are solid when they slow down a bit, but it’s not their forte as the start of personal favorite “Divine Destruction” shows with simply devastatingly epic results. Frontman, Matt Sippola has an ample rasp and delivers some clean croons here and there, that fit in rather than detract. Also, drummer Max Sepulveda puts on a pretty impressive show in these blisteringly melodic moments. A few female voices, namely on the choral arrangements add to the overall grandiosity as well.

Atavistia still like their loooong songs, as the 10-plus-minute duo of the moodier “Spectral Rebirth” and rangy, emotive (but still epic in its final throes) closer “Forgotten Silence” show, but they are so enthralling, they don’t feel that long, especially when as downright epic as often, when the album ended, and I thought there was more to come, but instead it blew by with utterly satisfying results from start to finish, and I hit play again.

A sure-fire top album of 2023, and in a year full of deathcore and death metal, a wondrously epic, melodic album to break up the onslaught of inhaled vocals and breakdowns.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 23rd, 2023


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