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REVIEW: Coma Cluster Void – “Mind Cemeteries”

What makes music heavy; Is it low tunings? Is it slow, crushing grooves? Is it atonal, atmospheric leads? Blast beats and shredding riffs? Coma Cluster Void is a band that answers yes to all of these questions, seemingly determined to create the most heavy, unsettling music possible. Incorporating abstract experimentation on a no less than a ten string guitar, Mind Cemeteries, to be released on August 26, is the international group’s debut full-length.

Opening with the unsettling, drawn out feedback of “Prologue: I Am,” the minute and a half soundscape is sidelined by the devastating dissonance of “Iron Empress.” Ten string guitarist/composer John Strieder and bassist Sylvia Hintz have created a wave of relentless, frenetic rhythms that is, at first listen, captivating and crushing. When I first heard of the group and the incorporation of a ten string guitar, I was skeptical that we would have yet another group that relies only on the low frets of the lowest string. However, this fear was dispelled instantly: the group’s prowess and innovation is complemented by Strieder’s technical rhythms and fretboard agility, weaving The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza-esque taps into rhythms that seem equal parts mathcore and technical death metal.

New single “Drowning Into Sorrow” showcases the dynamic, articulate control of drummer Christopher Burrows. Holding down the instrumental maelstrom with a mix of blast beats, off-time accents and groove-conscious playing, he lends a sense of structure to the experimental, relentless music of Mind Cemeteries. In addition to his excellent performance, this single benefits from the dual vocal ferocity of Mike DiSalvo (ex-Cryptopsy) and Austin Taylor (Dimensionless).

The eleven track album closes with the towering, six minute “All Bitter Endings” and the closing soundscape “Epilogue: As I Walk Among The Sick.” When the band restrains themselves to grinding, glacial grooves, they summon comparisons to Swedish deathcore project Humanity’s Last Breath. Merciless and bleak, once “All Bitter Endings” finishes in piercing feedback, the closing epilogue is musically restrained, but no less intense. Spoken and shouted parts not dissimilar to Slice the Cake’s Gareth Mason close the record on the repeating mantra, “Through death we part.”

Mind Cemeteries is a journey into some of the most relentless, merciless and controlled chaos I have heard in some time. This is the soundtrack to the world’s impending implosion. Though the band incorporates a variety of techniques, tempos, vocal styles and soundscapes, they never fail to be anything short of disturbing, bleak and hopeless. The technicality, intensity and obvious effort in pacing and composition make this album an intimidating auditory spectacle.

However, its overwhelming, atonal and relentless approach, which may attract many listeners, did not make for a listening experience I would seek repeatedly: the songs often ran into one another in an indistinguishable way, using an album to do what could likely have been accomplished with an EP. Nonetheless, Coma Cluster Void’s Mind Cemeteries is an ambitious, experimental and relentless release that will appeal to any listener seeking to experience absolute heaviness, or even to dissect the tracks for their compositional complexity.

Score: 7/10.
Notable Tracks: “Iron Empress”, “Drowning Into Sorrow”, “All Bitter Endings.”
FFO: Humanity’s Last Breath, Frontierer, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza.

Pre-order Mind Cemeteries on Bandcamp, and check out Coma Cluster Void on Facebook and YouTube.

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