[Review] Xavier Boscher – Cosmic Variations

Xavier Boscher is a French poly-instrumentalist who offers a genre halfway between Progressive Rock and Prog Metal, active since 1999 both with the bands Nebuleyes, Misanthrope and later as a soloist. His new album “Cosmic Variations” was released on March 07, 2022 and is available on CD and Digital, containing 13 instrumental tracks in which the artist plays all instruments. Heavy guitar riffs and a solid rhythmic session open “Sea Serpent,” the first track of the album, which immediately plunges us into the atmosphere of the sound and the artist. Skilled in blending harder strokes and more delicate and symphonic passages, he shows mastery and technique in all instruments, with the guitar in evidence. The sound is of the whole, without exceeding in virtuosity, but still proposing solo inserts of fine workmanship, between tempo changes and more melodic openings. Special features of the album are the interludes, which separate one track from the other, the first “Echo 1” is characterized by atmospheric sounds enriched by effects. “Compass on Argonauts Ships” is a tight track, with Prog Metal characters, always enriched by softer and symphonic tempo changes. Between accelerate and lead guitar inserts the sound here is massive and harder than the opener, and Xavier’s technique is enhanced by tempo changes and elaborate textures. The second interlude “Echo 2” follows the sound of the first and softens us after the energy of the previous song. The atmosphere is darker in “Reticulum” with good guitar works, including heavy riffs and solo inserts. The lead guitar accompanies us throughout the track, alternating more melodic passages with others that are more virtuous and accelerated. The rhythm session is solid with linear drumming, allowing Xavier to express himself best on the electric guitar. “Echo 3” is the third ‘break’ from atmospheric sounds, which guides us to the next track. We return to Prog Metal with the granite riffs of “Denebola,” a track characterized by an elaborate drumming and refined guitar weaves. It is the longest in duration, and the artist offers us 7 minutes of high-level guitar phrasing, keeping the intensity always high. “Echo 4” like the previous ones softens the tones with atmospheric sounds. Accelerated and powerful “Pleione” with a rhythmic session pulled with a double pedal and dizzying changes, after this introduction it slows down allowing the guitar to develop enveloping textures. With intertwining and hypnotic inserts, at times the atmospheres are dark, and the guitar is always at the center of the scene with a prolonged solo. “Echo 5” is another atmospheric interlude. Less heavy than the previous one, but with still granite riffs and a solid rhythmic session “Astrophel” proposes a more melodic facet of Xavier’s sound. A more airy track, where the guitar guides us for over 6 minutes with well made, well composed and executed textures. The last interlude of the disc “Echo 6” guides us to the final track. “Stellan” of shorter duration than the previous tracks, a concentrate of power and elaborate passages, enriched by tempo changes and more melodic inserts. The album ends with this good song, which leaves us with good feelings. Xavier Boscher proposes an album where the guitar is at the center of the sound, despite playing all the instruments with ease and technique. The long instrumental tracks that make up the disc enhance both the compositional and executive technique of the artist, without ever exceeding in virtuosity, but building an overall sound. Predominantly Prog Metal this album in some passages has more Rock references and melodic traits, making it pleasant for all 13 tracks. A listening recommended for lovers of sounds focused on the guitar and the more modern Prog and close to Metal, another pleasant chapter in the artist’s discography.

Tracklist

01. Sea Serpent (06:02)
02. Echo 1 (01:19)
03. Compass on Argonauts Ships 05:05
04. Echo 2 01:11
05. Reticulum 06:24
06. Echo 3 01:17
07. Denebola 07:39
08. Echo 4 01:45
09. Pleione 04:38
10. Echo 5 01:30
11. Astrophel 06:39
12. Echo 6 01:59
13. Stellan 03:24

Lineup

Xavier Boscher / All Instruments

Gear used :
Neural DSP
Steinberger GM4S
Guitar PMC Xav
Guitar PMC Blast Xavinga
Bass PMC The Origin
Bass PMC Blast fretless
Boss pedal Tera Echo TE2

Xavier Boscher |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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