Saturday, July 1, 2017

Cosmos Factory - 1973 - An Old Castle Of Transylvania

Cosmos Factory 
An Old Castle Of Transylvania

01. Soundtrack 1984
02. Maybe
03. Soft focus
04. Fantastic mirror
05. Poltergeist
06. An old castle of Transylvania:
I) Forest of the death
II) The cursed
III) Darkness of the world
IV) An old castle of Transylvania

- Tsutomu Izumi / keyboards, Mellotron, synthesizers, vocals
- Hirashi Mizutani / guitars, vocals
- Kazuo Okamoto / drums, percussion
- Toshikazu Taki / bass, vocals
+ Misao / violin

Formed in 1970, in the ugly industrial city of Nagoya, from the ruins of GS outfit The Silencer, this progressive rock band was courted by a local rock critic who took the band under his managerial wing. They played the local scene for a couple of years before gaining anything more than local success. Cosmos Factory took their marvellous name from a wholly cosmic misreading of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s LP COSMO’S FACTORY, which has unfortunately led many to believe that they were a space rock band. Instead, they were just a fairly bombastic bunch with a good line in titles. Their best LP is the debut AN OLD CASTLE IN TRANSYLVANNIA, but even this is keyboard heavy in an Italian progressive style, and only the epic title track that closes the album enters the realms of real experiment. Otherwise, their work dwells in the same areas as The Nice, Arzachel and early King Crimson. The band finally made its name as support for The Moody Blues and signed to Columbia Records in 1973, releasing the aforementioned debut that same year. Thereafter, the band signed a better deal with Toshiba’s hip Express label, and embarked on the unusual policy of releasing EPs. First came FANTASTIC MIRROR, followed by THE INFINITE UNIVERSE OF YOUR MIND and DAYS IN THE PAST, each appearing throughout 1975. Their second LP A JOURNEY WITH COSMOS FACTORY was released the same year. Film soundtrack work altered their music somewhat, giving it a harder, more clinical edge, and the musical arrangements of their final LPs BLACKHOLE and METAL REFLECTION were more Spartan than the previously lush arrangements of earlier albums, and not heavy metal as the titles would suggest. Julian Cope

COSMOS FACTORY were a Japanese band from the seventies and this is their debut, a heavy psychedelic recording for the most part. Lots of organ and guitar plus some welcomed mellotron.
I find that half of this album is very good while the other half not so much.

"Soundtrack 1984" is a top three for me and an instrumental. A bass/ drum intro here as mellotron rolls in. I really dig the guitar, especially after 1 1/2 minutes. "Maybe" is heavy with floating organ. How good is the mellotron and vocal melodies before a minute. The heaviness will be contrasted with the calmer vocal sections with organ. Some nice guitar before 3 minutes that goes on and on until that mellotron/ vocal melody passage from earlier is reprised. This song sounds like a late sixties tune, I really like it.

"Soft Focus" features keys and harp-like sounds and is very much a ballad with sappy vocals. "Fantastic Mirror" has an RPI vibe with the keyboard sounds. Unfortunately this is contrasted with sugary sections where the vocals just don't sound very good. Not a fan overall but it has it's moments. "Poltergeist" is bouncy with pulsating keys and drums not fitting the title of the song in my opinion. There is guest violin on this one that I'm not into, sounds like acoustic violin. The guitar, organ and violin take turns leading the way.

"An Old Castle Of Transylvania" suite includes the last four tracks and the songs blend into one another. Other than the first track this is the highlight of the album. "Forest Of The Death" is dark and brooding, experimental too with organ and synths standing out. A change after 2 1/2 minute as the drums come in and slowly build and the organ arrives with power. Check out the guitar! Great tune and top three for me. "The Cursed" continues with the darkness as the organ floats in before it all turns dramatic after a minute with the guitar and drums joining in. Vocals before 2 minutes then the guitar returns as it will come and go. Excellent!

"Darkness Of The World" is similar in sound again but more uptempo and more powerful, at least until the vocals arrive and it settles back some. Powerful organ ends it as it blends into my final top three "An Old Castle Of Transylvania". Guitar joins the powerful organ and steady drums quickly. I like how the guitar soars before 2 minutes. Mellotron follows then vocals before 3 minutes. A minute later we get this stunning ending of thunder cracks, rain and wind. It's like your right there in this wild storm.

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