Review: Las Cruces ‘Cosmic Tears’
Way back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, I was living in Seattle when I was just getting into stoner, doom, desert, and riff rock after five or so years of nothing but garage rock and punk. I discovered a lot of bands on the old stonerrock.com site, and its associated store, All That’s Heavy. I bought many, many CD’s from there, many ‘sight unseen’ or, more accurately ‘sound unheard’ going by band name/reviews, although if I remember correctly, there would at least be a slight mp3 sample of a track. Being from New Mexico, one that caught my eye back then was San Antonio, Texas’ Las Cruces.
See, here in New Mexico, our second biggest city after Albuquerque is named Las Cruces, meaning literally ‘the crosses’. So, seeing a band sharing a name with a city in my home state, I bought Las Cruces’s Ringmaster based solely on their name. While I remember digging the CD, it’s been since lost to time, I never recouped it, and frankly kind of forgot about this band until I saw the upcoming release of their latest Cosmic Tears being released on Ripple Music and thought ‘are these dudes are still around?’ I eagerly jumped at the chance to review Cosmic Tears and revisit a band that I spun during the infancy of my now 20-plus years of listening to this genre.
I don’t remember really anything from my previous experience with Las Cruces (twenty plus years and a lot of brain cells lost will do that to you evidently) so I came into Cosmic Tears with unbiased ears. Cosmic Tears opens with Altar Of The Seven Sorrows a crispy, doomy, slower-tempo instrumental, that builds into the single-note-riff intro of the title track Cosmic Tears, which pretty much stays the same, tempo wise, causing me to check the track listing a few times as I was absorbing the record.
Cosmic Tears is a spacey slow-burn featuring some pretty killer, dancing-along-the-frets, bass-lines from Jimmy Bell. As well, we’re almost six minutes into the record before we hear vocalist Jason Kane wail for the first time, and towards the end guitarist/riffmaster Mando Tovar presence is really felt for the first time with some pretty crushing riffage. The tempo remains the same, mid-to-slow-paced throughout Stay, but Tovar, Trevino, and Bell shine on this track. Bell providing more spider-finger bass work, and Tovar and Trevino provide the riffs and the shred.
Cosmic Tears is a solid American doom album…
Wizard From The North features a crawling, ear-worm riff, that will undoubtedly stick in your head. One of the records highlights to my ears. Other highlights are the epic, crushing riffs and massive buildup of Egyptian Winter, where once again, Tovar shines bright, taking centerstage with both his riffs and his lead work. Drummer Paul DeLeon (who, according to my research, was, sadly, yet another victim of COVID-19) also shines on Egyptian Winter providing some heavy-hitting, thumping tempos, and some nice rolls and fills. DeLeon’s drum sound is killer throughout Cosmic Tears, crisp and clear.
Holy Hell keeps the doom-riffage chugging along, but another standout is right around the corner as the trippy, spacey, Terminal Drift, featuring more outstanding bass work from Bell, and nice, behind-the-beat work from DeLeon. Terminal Drift floats along for some time, really breaking the record up, as while the previous songs all rocked, as noted, tempo-wise there wasn’t much of a change, so this is a nice sonic palette cleanser. Closers Relentless and The Wraith both feature killer riffs and lead work from Tovar, while maintaining their slow-but-steady tempo. Vocalist Jason Kane has a nice singing voice, a bit of a doom wail, along the Candlemas lines. Melodic, yet forceful.
If one is looking for some groundbreaking new takes on doom, they probably won’t find it on Cosmic Tears. However, what they will find, is a solid, workman-like, slab of meat-and-potatoes, American doom metal, featuring killer riffs, and leads, excellent bass playing, solid, steady drumming, and a vocalist who sounds like he knows what he’s doing, served up by musicians who’ve been making this type of music since the ’90s. Cosmic Tears is a solid American doom album, and I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Las Cruces.
Label: Ripple Music
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Martin Williams