Monday, June 10, 2024

Full Length Review: Cosmic Jaguar "El Era del Jaguar" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Cosmic Jaguar
Location: Zhytomyr
Country: Ukraine
Genre: Avant garde/technical thrash metal
Full length: El Era del Jaguar
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: May 29, 2024
On May 29, Cosmic Jaguar unveiled their new full-length which as usual demonstrates eclecticism and dedication. The forward thinking and drive to push themselves of their last album, "The Legacy of the Aztecs", is reaching new pinnacles as their elements of metal, progressive rock, jazz fusion, and folk are much closer in structure. It’s as if Voivod, Kreator, King Crimson and a Mesoamerican folk ensemble brainstormed together during long, intensive meetings as this album was the result.
With the band's advanced progressive elements, their heaviness and aggression have not diminished, which should be a reassurance to purists who prefer to see bands maintain their edge. In "El Era del Jaguar", they channel their aggression in radically new ways we hadn't heard, adding heaviness to the folk and prog they write with. One example is the integration of a stronger classical influence into the blast sections in some of the songs, as well as more prominent classical themes in the guitar solos.
With its nuanced sophistication, there is a greater presence of guitars on "El Era del Jaguar". Juan Maestro and Pablo "el Sicario" are given much free reign to display their dexterity and ability to handle time changes, different genres and subgenres, and Spanish-Mexican-Mesomerican melodies. Their respective handling of acoustic guitars and keyboards take the album to places connoisseurs of jazz and progressive rock would swear by. Mazatecpatl, a guest musician from the Mexican prog-power-thrash-folk band Cemican, contributes wind instruments giving the material a timeless autochthonous feel.
Several guest and session musicians contributed their own unique vibe to the album, including Morgoth, Blind Illusion, and Sadist. It’s most noteworthy that Dionisio Oscuro (Dark Matte Secret, Denis Shvarts, Ritual of Descent) contributes acoustic guitars and solos and Regina "The Bishop" aka Chimalma (Bestial Invasion, Lord Erektus) provides additional vocals. Chimalma in particular has a revenant-like bearing comparable to Livia Zita (King Diamond) and Tarja Turunen (Nightwish, Tarja).
Finally, Cosmic Jaguar dives deeply into Aztec legends and myths. Their homages to the Aztec sun god Huitzilopochtli, Tepēyōllōtl, the god of the Eighth Hour of the Night, the goddess of erotic love, fertility and childbirth, Xolotl, the god of lightning, fire and death, and Coyolxauhqu, the goddess of the moon are accorded to ensure familiarity with these and the other legends lyrically imparted, and something about their presentation will inspire you to conduct research on your own.
"El Era del Jaguar" shows a band getting its act together and working hard to fulfill their potential. Give it a close listen. –Dave Wolff

Sergio Lunático: Vocals, bass
Pablo "el Sicario": Rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar
Juan Maestro: Lead guitars, keyboards
Alejo Bárbaro: Drums, percussion

Session musicans:
Chimalma: Female vocals
Dionisio Oscuro: Solo guitars, acoustic guitar

Special guests:
Mazatecpatl (Cemican): Wind instruments (track 1 and 3)
Tommy Talamanca (Sadist): Guitar solo 1 (track 5)
Miguel Slam Tornado (Fusion Bomb): Vocals 2 (track 5)
Mark Biedermann (Blind Illusion) Guitar solo 4 (track 5)
Marc Grewe (ex-Morgoth): Vocals 3 (track 5) and vocals 1 (track 7)
Thomas Zeller (MP (Metal Priests)): Vocals 2 (track 7)
Michael Wehner "Micky" (ex-Vendetta): Guitar solo 2 (track 7)
Achim Daxx (ex-Vendetta): Guitar solo 3 (track 7)
Vakhtango: Vocal “Cortes” (track 8)
El Mesías Digital: Guitar solo 2 (track 8)

Track list:
1. God of Sun and War
2. The Eight Lord of the Nights
3. Solar Logos
4. Ashes in Eyes
5. Obsidian Mirror
6. Decapitated Lunar Goddess
7. The Shorn Ones
8. La Noche Triste

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