Iapetus - The Body Cosmic

Hailing from Long Island, New York City, Iapetus is a two-man studio project that combines Melodic, Dark and Progressive Extreme Metal. The band's sound is experimental and they seem to enjoy creating cosmic and spacey environments. When it comes to their metal influences, these derive from melodic death metal, post black metal, prog/tech death metal and doom metal. There are also influences coming from deathcore, progressive rock and folk/acoustic music. "The Body Cosmic" is Iapetus second full length album.

The same title opening track begins with a black metal riff that honors the Northern black metal heritage. In just a few seconds its melodic line is enriched with a second and then a third guitar and then a whole new cosmos is unveiled. Iapetus combine their rare sense of melody with riffs of progressive metal quality to travel the listener to the Chaos and Harmony of the Universe. The riffs are heavy and the excellent and precise picking magnetizes and captures the attention. The sound is fresh and modern bringing to my mind Gojira. The clever keyboard/synth use takes the whole thing to a higher quality level. Iapetus wisely leave this 10-minute opus space to breathe with the mature use of breaks/pauses or by lowering the tempo. Instead of lyrics they use (parts 5, 6 and 1) of "I Sing The Body Electric" by the famous American poet, essayist, and journalist Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Progressive metal guitars turn to a fusion of progressive rock with post rock overtones and heavy metal tension. The lead guitars use eastern/oriental scales and the choir vocals makes the song more of a film score theme than a typical metal song.

The instrumental 'Dark Matter Genetics' is a weird acoustic piece like the ones Black Sabbath used in their first albums ('Fluff', 'Supertzar', 'Break Out'), but with more ambience and with a deeper and more spacey production. Very trippy, peaceful and beautiful little piece.

'I Contain Multitudes' is the next song of this diverse album. The vocals used in this one are of melodic death metal origin with the rawness of In Flames of the first albums. Second vocal lines are used to highlighten the melody. The acoustic theme passage serves as a link to another hellish verse. The vocals spit over angelic backing vocal lines. The acoustic guitars which follow this time took me to Opeth and consequently to the 70's legendary rock and progressive rock bands. The synth used sounds very modern in this part of the album. The extraordinary bass line could be found in a Cynic album. The lead guitar melody is amazing and somewhat epic. Regardless what you expect, the next riff is definitely deathcore. The 'I Contain Multitudes' journey continues for more than 14 minutes in which Iapetus offer a great variety of soundscapes in an interesting mix. The band is capable of performing such weird and difficult music with ease. However, for some listeners it can be difficult to follow Iapetus in their long songs after few minutes. In the 9th minute of the song you will listen to a fabulous non-metal piece-within-piece. A theme with an utterly dark melody, filled with nostalgia and dark beauty. The following doom riff repeatedly performed leads this opus to the end.

'Galaxy Collective' starts off with the same drum beat measure with which 'I Contain Multitudes' ended. The song is a sweet piece featuring Joe Satriani's sensitivity in the lead guitar performance while a piano sounds on the background. The lyrics come from Carl Sagan's "Contact". In fact, the saying "For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love", serves as an intro to the next song which is entitled 'For Creatures Such As We' and is a 13-minute long deathcore opus.
The clean female vocals are beautiful and the piano/synth additions are beneficial. Technical, heavy, with complex songwriting, but always with the clear intention to seek for the right melody, Iapetus build their standout track with 'Galaxy Collective'. A strong Evanescence presence is in the air through the whole song and the fragile melodies coming from the synth/piano and the acoustic guitar are haunting. The acoustic lead lies somewhere between Dire Straits and Pink Floyd. The melodic death/deathcore part returns with a fabulous metal lead that would make Opeth jealous. I think "Galaxy Collective" portrays the path upon which Iapetus should walk.

'Hadean Heart' and 'Moonwatcher' are 2 sensitive instrumental pieces. The overtones of the acoustic guitars are space travelling. Background vocal lines give a soundtrack feeling with their cosmic aura. 'Hadean Heart''s pauses and silence are crucial for the whole album to breathe. It was wise from Iapetus to structure their album so well and help its flow and the listener.

'The Star Of Collapse' is an 18-minute long song. It is divided in 4 acts (I-IV). The riffs are tight and fast. Nice guitar melodies appear over a very fast double bass and extreme double layered vocals. The acoustic parts are very nice. The riff with the accompanied synth reminds me of mid 90's death/black bands like Bal Sagoth. The use of synth alone heavily reminded me of Tiamat and their brilliant "Wildhoney" LP. The additional female vocals work really well and make "The Star of Collapse" the second standout track of the album for me. Countless leads/phrases and mid tempo death/black riffage is what you get. The spoken word in 'The Star Of Collapse' reminded me of Thater Of Tragedy of the "Velvet Darkness They Fear" album. Excellent songwriting and structure.

The last song of the album is 'Angelus Novus'. Its lyrics come from The Twilight Zone, "I Sing The Body Electric". 'Angelus Novus' is actually an outro with a repeated piano theme and nice lead guitar work on the background.

"The Body Cosmic" is basically an experimental album. In its 70 minutes you will listen to deathcore and melodic extreme metal but also to 70's progressive/rock. Iapetus combine the progressive metal orama of Opeth with the technical perfection and extremity of Ne Obliviscaris (Dan Presland is behind the Iapetus drum kit for this album) and the deathcore of bands like Fallujah with the Melodic Death Metal of Insomnium and the sensitive musical approach of bands like Agalloch and Alcest. You need to be in the right mood to "trip right" with this album. Despite the great performance of the band, their songs are not catchy or memorable. They are long songs that require time and the right mood to be understood. "The Body Cosmic" has great moments and Iapetus have very nice influences. You just need to let yourself free to go with the Iapetus flow. You may like it or you may not, but Iapetus try to create their own emotional cosmos with their arrangements/songwriting and this should be highly credited. Iapetus deserve further praise for releasing their work independently. The album was mixed by Linus Corneliusson (Ihsahn, Dark Tranquility) and mastered by Tony Lindgren (Opeth, Swallow the Sun) which means Iapetus handed in the right hands their will to continue their way up the scale of extreme/prog/experimental metal. I think they are on their way up. Free your mind and enjoy!


1. The Body Cosmic
2. Dark Matter Genetics
3. I Contain Multitudes
4. Galaxy Collective
5. For Creatures Such As We
6. Hadean Heart
7. Moonwatcher
8. The Star Of Collapse
9. Angelus Novus

Self released
Reviewer: Manos Michaelides
Dec 12, 2019

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