CD REVIEW: Negativehate - In Cosmic Winter
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Album: In Cosmic Winter
Label: Piss Grey Skies Records
Genre: Progressive Rock, Ambient Metal, Metalcore, Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: Soundgarden, Tool, Dream Theatre, Gentle Giant, Audioslave, Metallica
Weakness: Engineering Aspects (Recording, Mixing, Mastering), Winded Songs, Marketability.
Negativehate is a four piece Alternative Rock bands from Harriman, New York. Their latest work is full length CD entitled In Cosmic Winter released in 2012 (Piss Grey Skies Records).Band members include Mike Stewart (Drums, Electronics, Vocals), Pat Dorme (Drums) Eric Stewart (Bass), Chuck Scandura (Guitar, Vocals) and Dmitri Benzinger (Percussion). Genera: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive Metal. This C IS broken up into 8 separate books or movements..
The CD kicks things off with Track 1 “They Live Inside the Sun” a methodical prelude of sorts that’s serves up impressive guitar ambience, panted against sonic rain textures and impressive melody. This leads you head first into Track 2 “Spiritwalker” a dynamic rock anthem that serves up impressive musical build against foreboding vocal delivery and thought provoking lyrical content. Track 3 shifts gears a bit with “God is a Woman” a melodic follow-up piece that serves up heartfelt vocal delivery that flows and ebbs its way though to emotional fruition. Track 4 “Hours after Exposure” keeps things moving with its melodic guitar, methodical musical build and overall dynamic vocal intensity. As the CD quickly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from Soundgarden, Tool, Dream Theatre, Gentle Giant, Audioslave with perhaps a dash of Metallica and even Danzig. The music has everything you would expect from a dynamic Progressive Rock CD, but also touches on Ambient Metal, and Metalcore. The style of the music is highly original and refuses to be pinned down the first listen. The vocals are impressive, compelling and push the envelope and imagination. The guitar playing is very melodic and dynamic and the musical flow and ebb is highly creative. The overall vocal style works extremely well with this confines of this progressive catalogue. Rhythm section - lays down the low end groove thick as a brick. What I like most about the music is its sheer unpredictability note for note and song for song. By track 5 the CD hits solid stride dishing out many impressive songs in a row. Like a heavy weight boxer the songs keep coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. I also like some of the theatrical production touches on some of the songs. From melodic "The Edge of Never" to epic "The Cell Phone Dependency Factor" this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 8 “Planet X” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
The biggest problem with the CD is not the band, not the music, not even the performances themselves - it’s the engineering aspect of it. The overall production quality (recording, mixing, mastering) seems to be somewhat erratic, amateurish and bit all over the place. It simply doesn’t stack up to other world class mixes within the genera and lacks and sticks out on really high end stereo systems and speakers. CD also lacks continuity track to track. It takes skill and engineering savvy to record, mix and master a musical production to industry standards these days. The impact this will have on its overall sound cannot be overstated. Looking now at the liner notes it says the CD was Recorded and Mixed by Chuck Scandura. For the record - all 3 of the production phases should be handled by an separate and experienced music professional. Additionally all 3 production phases must be completed successfully in order for the next phase to be a success and for the CD to sound industry standard. I also detected some very slight timing issues on Track 2 and 4. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I also wish I heard more solo guitar segments throughout. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the aforementioned issues do affect the CD’s overall marketability.
This latest release from Negativehate is a solid musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the strong song for song consistency, progressive dynamics and that keeps coming at you. The music is progressive, unpredictable, heavy and original. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD packs a powerful punch, and goes the full 12 rounds with no sign of letting up.