Being previously featured on our site for our Scene Report series as part of the Indian metal scene, The Cosmic Truth, is a progressive metal act based in Delhi. While the band has gained a decent following in their country, one specific member is known on perhaps a more global level. Vocalist Jayant Bhadula is one of the main creative forces behind Bloodywood, a Youtube channel showcasing metal parodies. Guitarists Sahil Sharma and Kireet Sharma, bassist Sahil Dhingra, and drummer Siddhant Kashyap Boruah are the remaining musicians that shape the sound of the group.
With recent proggy releases, I've noticed a trend of atmospheric instrumental intro pieces to the point where it seems inevitable and expected. In this release, the minute long "Inception" acts as such, but isn't as creative or suspenseful as I'd hoped. Nonetheless a nitpick, but I feel it's important to provide an increasing amount of constructive criticism as a certain subgenre grows in popularity. While the first piece in this EP came off as simply underwhelming, the band redeemed themselves quickly. The spacey opener gradually lead up to "False Love, Pure Hate," which was the first taste that I had of this EP over a year ago and was honestly pretty impressed. Overall, I'd say this song best captures The Cosmic Truth's identity as Jayant's unique vocal fluctuation is presented at full force with the djent-like choppy riffs serving as a perfect counterpart.
With "Whispers in the Dark," the instrumental section take a step back in the world of intensity to allow for the vocals to even more-so shine in the spotlight. Although there are moments of sublime dynamic guitarwork, this piece seems to be a prime example of how Jayant's vocals are easily one of the most provoking aspects of the band. His cleans have an extremely solid foundation and are able to transition to the distorted growls seamlessly. I find it counterproductive to compare vocalists to others as there is always a distinct timbre to every singer, but if I was forced to connect the dots, I would use Tesseract meets Meshuggah as a simplified way of explaining the vocal delivery.
Granted, I'd be foolish to claim that the vocals are the only force steering The Cosmic Truth. The previously mentioned song showcases a marvelous solo and the following title track reveals a jazz-fusion element to the rhythm section. "Decode" and "Star Explosion" continue proggy djent tropes but dip into a more experimental territory in regards to rhythmical variation.
Keshav Dhar, mostly known as the guitarist for Skyharbor, has more recently been on a successful production streak recording artists such as The Down Troddence and Undying Inc. as well as songwriting contributions to Marty Friedman's solo albums. The production style that Keshav uses on Stroboscopic Illusion mimics early Textures albums in that there is a heavy focus on ambience. I totally understand how the inclusion of this style allows for a larger range in dynamics, but there are moments where the ambience feels very disconnected from the meat of the tracks and takes away from the experience. The actual songs sound spot-on, but there are transitions that seem off.
Although, I have a few picky, personal complaints about the dynamic flow of this release, I find this to be a substantial debut EP. There's a decent mix of musical styles embraced by the instrumentalists and an impressive vocal range and delivery diversity. As I've said in other reviews regarding modern prog metal and djent, there tends to be some repetition in the song structure's formula, but I'm hoping with time, experimentation will open more doors to avoid monotony. With room for improvement in the two aforementioned departments, I would claim that Stroboscopic Illusion shows much promise for the future of this band as they have talented musicians across the board with undeniably sharp ideas.