Cosmonaut is a power trio out of Grand Rapids, Michigan whose new album – S/T, dropped on October 2, 2015. Fronted by guitarist Brian George, their hard, gritty and stripped down sound is backed by Rodney Johnson on bass and Josh Stacey on drums. These three have played in other bands together prior to creating Cosmonaut.
This is George’s debut as front man/singer and he does a credible job combining raw shouted lyrics with the album’s more melodic passages, almost using his voice as punctuation. This is not an easy style to master and George, while there is room to grow, handles this mix well without obvious strain on his voice. He is also a skilled guitarist who has an interest in guitar tech and builds his own pedals.
The rhythm section that forms the backbone of the music is headed up capably by Stacey on drums. Johnson’s skill on bass becomes evident throughout the album as he weaves his bass notes over, under and throughout the drum track giving George a solid foundation for his own guitar and vocal work.
The album starts off with a bang on the first track, Choke. This high energy and hard-edged song is reminiscent of Rise Against in its bleak point of view of society and relationships and gritty sound. The video for this song reflects an almost post-apocalyptic feeling with jarring and bleak visuals that contrast with performance footage of the band. The video is available on You Tube and there is a link at the end of the article.
There are twelve short songs on this album – total listening time is approximately 40 minutes and while this trio are skilled musicians, they would do well to work on variety in their song writing. At times it felt like I was listening to one long song rather than twelve, even though I knew the tracks were changing. Their hard rock sound is good and the song(s) are catchy but their overall similarity becomes a little tiresome by the end of the record. That said this is a definitely band to watch.
S/T was produced by Allen Epley and Eric Abert, both who played with The Life and Times, and is available on iTunes.
Watch official video for “Choke” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgdKxdIe9xk