The other day a friend of mine shared a wish of being locked in the world’s quietest room. Becoming fixated on a room so quiet the sound of blood flowing from the heart through her body would become deafening. I went the other direction in my head, thinking about the sounds colliding with walls and moving towards me, pummeling my body in the world’s most quiet room. Pounding and pounding you with a barrage of vibrations. This how doom metal feels to me.
Cosmic Reaper is a doom metal band spawned in Charlotte, North Carolina. Members include Garret Garlington on bass, Jeremy Grobsmith on drums, Dillion Prentice on guitar, and Thad Collis guitar and vocals. Beginning as a duo with Garret and Dillon by mixing together fuzz and melodies in Garret’s kitchen. In 2010 they self-released the single Comes Knockin’ then 2019s follow up as a complete band with the EP Demon Dance. 2021’s Self-Titled is their first proper album released on the doom haven that is Heavy Psych Sounds. All the music and mixing duties were handled by sound engineer Dillion Prentice.
Initiating our trek is Hellion. Distortion saturates the tone for the next forty-five minutes. Like I’m being dragged through a bubbling bog on the back of a motorcycle lead by Death himself. My eyes are open. My reactions have been dulled. My attention is high as the sound trickles away leading to track two Heaven’s Gate. It moves like a completely indifferent snail, spreading destruction and plague with each inch slithered. Thad’s vocal delivery, with an omnipresent malaise, is always controlled, never bored. Each line of reality is getting more and more blurred with each second. Drums by Jeremy, bass by Garret bang with a sound so sticky with dripping reverb, that each change in tempo creates a jolt that just might make your heart skip a beat.
The blues infused Stellar Death sounds like the moment of clarity a cult member would experience when they could still leave the sect and pick up life again. All potential hope crashes with the two-part Wasteland sounding like the final brain rotting acid hit, making the return to a commune, the deprivation, and the sun damaged distortion of a life, the only future available. I want to note while writing this, I’m enjoying a nice cup of tea and wearing socks so soft, they could make clouds feel self-conscious.
a sound so sticky with dripping reverb, that each change in tempo creates a jolt that just might make your heart skip a beat…
Taking inspiration from how one properly prepares coffee and tea bought from a farmer’s market, because I’m a hipster hippie looking for identity, Planet Eater is brewed low and slow. This monster of a track clocks in at nearly ten minutes. But if you’ve made it this far, and your stoner doom loving ears have enjoyed each second, this is going to pass by in what feels like no time at all.
So here we are with one song left. Will they stick the landing? Or will we want to join the cult forever? Infrasonic stretches and manipulates my brain that’s fallen out of my head with its stem curling against me. I suppose this is my initiation into the cult. No. No wait. That’s my cat. I could say the same things I’ve said about each song. But this is my favorite genre. This is my religion. And what I’ve listened to here is consistent and, to me, a comforting album that wraps around me like the cosy lives sown into each sweater your grandma would make. That is until an abrupt spine-chilling finale takes your breath away, making me join the motorcycle cult I’ve seen circling in my head. Typical reaction of grandma made sweaters.
I find the consistency so comforting in this brand of doom metal. Something I can pop out of this realm and let it ease me far away until I believe I’m living in the incomprehensible, yet all-consuming nature, of it. But when I open my eyes after the last moment, I find myself at home. But as I gaze at the album’s 1980s VHS cover art (designed by Branca Studio), it leads me once again wanting to dive into the satanic cult vibrations brought to life by the riff.
Scribed by: Richard Murray