Power of Metal.dk Review

The Man Left in Space
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 5 February, 2013
Playing time: 56:03

I'm such a sucker for sci-fi concepts. There have been great ones this year thus far; such as Hibernal, Cynthesis, and Sound of Contact. All three of those artists have produced masterpieces, in my opinion. I think I can add Cosmograf to that list, too. This multi-instrumentalist from the UK has quite an affinity for concept albums, and his new album might be the most in-depth concept yet.

Robin Armstrong, the name behind Cosmograf, plays every instrument on “The Man Left in Space”, though he does have some special guests help out, too. He also produces and mixes his work. If that weren't impressive enough, he has also written quite an incredible story here. “The Man Left in Space” is about the aspiration, success, and achievement that men pursue at all costs. It is also about the failures and the ultimate futility of all of this. Interestingly, we've seen this concept a few times in the last couple years, and that's okay. I think it is a sign of our times as financial, environmental, and physical ruin seem to be larger then we can handle. Now, the album centers on these themes, but it discusses them through an analogy: A doomed space mission that is meant to save mankind. The man character, Sam, experiences a range of emotions and stages; such as isolation, failure, fear, unhappiness, and eventually nothingness. His conversations with the ship's A.I. are heartbreaking and profound; and honestly remind me slightly of Master Chief and Cortana. I was really impressed by all of this.

As for the music, Cosmograf is somewhat hard to peg. This band is usually labeled as neo-prog, but I hear Deep Purple, King Crimson, and maybe even some more contemporary bands in here, too. The mix is slightly eclectic, and so this album takes a few listens to appreciate fully. It's a real grower. Particularly, there is some great drumming and guitar work, both of them being powerfully presented. The synth is incredible as well, and this entire album seems to hum similarly to Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine. It feels alive, and this adds to the effect of the storyline.

Cosmograf is a band that hadn't been on my radar. After this incredible album, I will be following the band indefinitely. If Armstrong can continue to create incredible concepts along with spirited and atmospheric music, he has got a fan for life in me.

1. How Did I Get Here?
2. Aspire, Achieve
3. The Good Earth behind Me
4. The Vacuum That I Fly Through
5. This Naked Endeavour
6. We Disconnect
7. Beautiful Treadmill
8. The Man Left in Space
9. When the Air Runs Out
Label: Independent
Distribution: Bandcamp
Artwork rating: 85/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 24 June, 2013
Website: www.cosmograf.com