(VERITA VAMPIRUS)

Croatian metalline progrock?!?!? Righteous!!! The promo lit extols Cojones (um, “Balls” in Spanish…and I don’t mean ‘beach balls’, y’all) in comparison to Monster Magnet, Soundgarden, the Melvins, Kyuss, stoner metal, and others, but, because I’m familiar with all those groups, I’ll say the more accurate RIYLs would be along the lines of Omega, Nektar, Fields of the Nephelim, and the Euro-Krautische-Balkan cross-connection of the 70s and 80s. Formed a decade ago, the four gents (Bojan Kocijan, Nenad Mandic, Gordan Tomic, Stanislav Muskinja) know the backstory and, despite the far distance of Zagreb from those antecedents, have obviously devoured a wide spectrum of sounds between The Great Era (progrock’s far too short zenith from the mid-60s to mid-to-late-70s) and everything up to the moment.

 

Yeah, I hear all the modern metalloids, but, being the upsetter of apple carts I am, let me heap even more appropriate praise on Cojones beyond the above analogues ‘cause this quartet has its shit down stone cold. Hawkwind circa Xenon Codex appears many times as well as Killing Joke, snatches of Killer / Love It to Death Alice Cooper, the more symphonic aspects of Type O Negative, and even a bit of Savatage, among others. This is the ensemble’s third outing, but I’m guessing they were this tight and pounding straight out of the starting gate on their debut, a few years ago; the sophistication of composition alone indicates that.

 

Despite the heavy nature of the disc, the engineers managed to work in in a rich satiny finish that elevates the 8-song enterprise into a more classic stratum complementing the many harmonic cohesivities in varying atmospheres cleaving closely to earthy textures before screaming into the stratisphere, “Build a Home” particularly notable in this. Trippy Alex Grey / Euro underground-comix artwork is showcased in a four panel transubstantiation of a spaced head (Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna would approve!) by Stipan Tadic in an aestheticallty pleasing presentation topping off the professionality of the enterprise. Resonate competes with the best in the field.