Album: A Fearful Wonder
Release Date: June 6, 2019
Genre: Progressive Rock
A Fearful Wonder is the newest album from Toronto based band, Kozen.
Kozen lives up to it’s chosen name which is a portmanteau of the Japanese characters Ko (vast, wide) and Zen (virtuous, kind). The use of Ko is particularly apt as ‘A Fearful Wonder’ is an album with a very vast range of influences and wide complement of sounds. Though the instrumental compliment for the band is fairly typical for a rock band (vocals, electric guitar, bass, keyboard, drums), every song on ‘A Fearful Wonder’ is dynamic. A given track may start with emotive vocals, then move to the screams of heavy metal, then move to the guttural gravel of death metal – or some layered combination of these techniques. The tone is also very fluid as songs can move from metal to rock to pop or even disco. The overall result is a very youthful and energetic album – reminiscent of the alternative rock of the early 2000s. There’s a feeling of possibility on each track, as Kozen pushes the limits of what their instruments can do, showcasing the breadth of their talent.
A standout track for me was “To the Wind” which has an interesting funk riff underlying it’s chorus under a heavy rock tone as the singer gives an optimistic outlook to starting over after realizing their current philosophy needs a firmer foundation – that they need to “And if the words are wrong, find out what’s fake/Throw it away to the wind and start again”.
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.