Review Summary: A personal favorite for album of the year in 2013.
Here goes another record that went practically unnoticed in 2013. On Cosmic Child, Swedish outfit New Keepers of the Water Towers deliver a majestic brand of progressive rock inspired doom metal that takes you to space and back. Gone is the sludgy sound developed over the course of the first two albums. Instead, one is served with a drastic and surprising change of direction for a band that had too often wandered off into imitation territory. I may never stress this enough, but this album sounds nothing like what anyone came to expect from this band. And unexpected is good.
The most common comparison New Keepers get is with American sludge machine Mastodon. While this comparison may not hold up at all for Cosmic Child, Rasmus Booberg's vocal lament is somehow reminiscent of a Crack The Skye era clean-singing passage slash Ozzy. That is however where the resemblance ends, as the band gather influence from a multitude of sources, including stoner metal, Pink Floyd-esque psychedelic soundscapes and the 70's prog rock movement in general. Some have even cited Opeth as an inspiration, and they aren't wrong at all.
A subtle use of keyboards as sonic backing and heavy reverberation creates the atmosphere needed for the band to shine thoroughly. For a six-song album, it is incredibly diverse in its offering. Visions of Death gives out an acoustic progressive folk introduction, before hitting hard with heavy riffing and superb leads. The first half of Pyre for the Red Sage sounds like a metal version of Echoes... and then a thrash metal shredding solo. Yeah. All in all, a very strong outing that never gets tiresome despite two songs dragging over 12 minutes, because of its constant change of pace and setting.
The result is a profound journey through the milky way, with each track part of a grander whole. Without a single sub-par song, Cosmic Child moonlights as an auditory experience and near-flawless album. A vast improvement from The Calydonian Hunt and debut album Chronicles, Cosmic Child showcases New Keepers of the Water Towers as a much more mature and dedicated band. A personal favorite for album of the year in 2013.