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REVIEW: Cosmic Triumph’s Debut EP “VOL I” Sets the Stage for Grunge Revival and A New Sound for Hardcore

Written by: Camila Molina / Photos by: Brooke Cardillo

Cosmic Triumph, a Massachusetts-based hardcore band, has released their first EP, “VOL I,” which is brimming with cathartic resonance and the grunge vitality that many enthusiasts in the scene have longed for. The five track EP is reminiscent of early Nirvana albums like “Bleach,” the band infuses punk roots with a fresh hardcore amalgamation, revitalizing a sound that's been dormant for years. 

In the Northeast United States, hardcore music is experiencing a surge, with bands like Koyo, a Long Island-based hardcore band, gaining traction. However, Cosmic Triumph's debut EP stands out from the rest with its immediate rawness, as if the lead singer's voice has been bottled up, shaken and unleashed. This raw ‘80s and ‘90s-esque energy feels simultaneously familiar and refreshingly new, blending anger that feels so honest and relatable yet also comforting.

Beginning with "AEROPLANE," initially released as a single, Cosmic Triumph instantly captivated listeners, leaving them eagerly anticipating the EP release. The fast paced and electric spirit of the song almost makes you miss the lyrics of “AEROPLANE,” as it seems to discuss the disappointment of being authentic in a world of people trying to be someone else or somewhere better, and even being left behind for it. While the lyrics alone may not sell the listener on the songs, the rushing instruments and screaming voice are what make this EP so enthralling.  Expectations for their project were already high in the weeks leading up to the release, but upon release, the group exceeded far and wide - releasing a project full of unforgettable tracks.

The relatability of this young band’s lyrics extends past "AEROPLANE,” such as in the second track on the EP. “Checkers” illuminates taking time to figure yourself out despite the loud judgment and overbearing pressures from those around us. It specifically rings true for youth who struggle with their mental health, as the band sings “She tells you your mind’s a mess / She tells you to fix your head.” Listeners may not be able to tell what is even exactly being sung by Cosmic Triumph, but that does not leave the story untold. The feel and energy of the instruments and voice take over, reminiscent of early pioneers in hardcore and punk like Bad Brains, a revolutionary band in the scene that took off in the ‘80s. 

While all of the instrumentals are exciting, the sheer kinetic energy in the guitar solo will leave listeners of “Checkers” astounded. It was difficult to believe this powerhouse performance was coming from a relatively unknown band in their 20s. It was a guitarist’s dream to hear such a technically and sonically powerful solo from a small band, leaving listeners hoping it is not too long until this band gets the recognition it deserves. 

By the time listeners get to track three, “Universal Jam,” they may think they’ve already heard the best of the EP. However, the exhilaration only builds. Track three shifts the tempo and energy right in the middle of the “VOL I,” showcasing that Cosmic Triumph truly has a well rounded sound and can do more than just the fast paced and spontaneous style. It slows down with a beautiful melodic sound, still keeping the cathartic vocals, only making them more digestible in terms of lyrics and clear sound. That gentle guitar introduction is such a sweet contrast to the other songs on the EP, and you sort of melt into it. But then, it builds into that visceral sound that is so true to Cosmic Triumph in their chorus. 

“A Night Out” leans further into the pop-punk realm and the pace picks back up. As the EP draws to a close, Cosmic Triumph continues to explore different stylistic avenues throughout this initial EP while maintaining their signature grunge-infused hardcore sound. The pace sort of  continues to pick up, leading listeners wonderfully into “books,” which circles right back into a very drum heavy with fun distortions. 

The mesmerizing aspect of this album lies in its dynamic range; each track presents a unique sonic journey yet remains united by the consistent display of distinctive talent, including emotive vocals and impressive instrumentation. Similar to the anticipation and growing expectations preceding the release of  “VOL I”  after the initial hearing of “AEROPLANE,” it is difficult to imagine what might possibly follow such an astounding debut EP.


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