Metal as a genre constantly explores and subverts my understanding of two contrasting ideas: control and chaos. No band merges and blurs the lines between these concepts more than international progressive/technical death metal act Coma Cluster Void. I had a chance to cover their dissonant, dark and unbelievably heavy debut record, Mind Cemeteries, last year (read the review here), and the group is already back with a new piece of music. Thoughts From A Stone is technically an EP broken into six tracks, but is perhaps better thought of as one 22-minute song. Thoughts From A Stone shows Coma Cluster Void focus their frenetic fury into a cohesive yet chaotic concept. The EP will be released on October 13.
Coma Cluster Void are relentless in their commitment to creating unsettling soundscapes; opening with “I Breathe An Awakening”, Thoughts From A Stone begins with a quiet dissonance filled with uneasy guitar lines, feedback and spoken word sections. Even though all of these elements were present on their debut, their presence here performs a narrative function that introduces the album and a concept that increases in tension over time.
This intensity and energy builds through slowly accelerating tempos over the course of the six tracks, the music becoming faster and more complex alongside dissonant guitars and aggressive growls. “The Silence And Gloom” is built around asphyxiating arpeggios and a glacial yet unpredictable groove that flirts with post metal influences. CCV’s music is based on clever polyrhythms, but they never give in to generic tropes – though sometimes this is unsatisfying for the breakdown fan in me, I have to admire CCV’s commitment to innovation and unpredictability. The next part of the Thoughts From A Stone is my favorite part of the EP: “Sculpting This Vision” incorporates some interesting, disturbing SikTh-by-way-of-Periphery riffs into their sound here.
The six-part song climaxes with “Thumb Of Disease”; the fastest, heaviest part of the record, this section is replete with blast beats and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza-esque chaotic musicality. The final two parts of the EP act as an effective denouement, and incorporate some of the most interesting parts. Largely slow and crushing, the music is contrasted by haunting singing and spoken word. The incorporation of these elements makes for an even more unsettling sound, and shows that, although CCV have crafted a compelling story with this 22 minute song, they never resolve it for the listener; we are left wondering, waiting, and wanting more.
When writing last year’s review of Mind Cemeteries, I enjoyed the record but found it perhaps too dense and unpredictable to latch onto. With Thoughts From A Stone, Coma Cluster Void have addressed this concern. The six-part song has natural ebbs and flows, but works towards an intelligible climax and conclusion. Unfortunately, some production choices in terms of vocal processing and cymbal mixes were a bit distracting or lacked impact. Thankfully, the inclusion of some more diverse elements, most notably the creepy singing, is an added point of interest. Thoughts From A Stone show Coma Cluster Void strengthening and maturing their already innovative sound, and I recommend it for fans of heavy, dissonant, forward-thinking music.
Notable Tracks: “Sculpting This Vision”; “Mother, Dreamer”
FFO: Ulsect, John Frum, Meshuggah