Death metal, like any genre of music, needs a bit of a facelift every now and then. Bands like Gorguts, Pyrrhon and Ulcerate, to name a few, are all celebrated for their blatant disregard for death metal tradition and their willingness to take extreme risks in composition. It is acts like these that effectively push the genre forward and show that the possibilities are virtually endless. Experimental metal collective Coma Cluster Void is another one of these aforementioned bands whose approach to the genre pushes the envelope. This German/U.S./Canadian outfit’s debut release, Mind Cemeteries, builds upon what the progenitors of the technical and avant-garde established and creates a sound that is insurmountably intense, polarizing and unique to them alone. This fresh and wonderfully grotesque take on death metal will bewilder and enthrall those who thought the genre couldn’t get any more insane.
The quintet is armed to the teeth with menacing 10-string guitars, bass tuned to subterranean lows, dizzying and destructive drumming patterns and dueling vocalists. This choice of auditory weaponry are combined to create a disfigured, writhing and dissonant style that sounds like the most complex parts of Gorguts, Meshuggah, Deathspell Omega and other forward-thinkers have been mixed thoroughly in a blender. The music on Mind Cemeteries acts like an aural representation of the titular creature in John Carpenter’s “The Thing”; constantly twisting, churning and morphing into more and more disgusting shapes.
The 45-minute opus features brief interludes placed at the beginning, middle and end of the record. These short ambient detours are comprised of haunting, abstract horns, which give off a Colin Stetson vibe, and a few short lines of vocals that are either screamed or spoken. In between these little sections is where the fun really begins. “Iron Empress” officially kicks things off with a cacophony of vile instrumentation. The guitars and bass lurch feverishly throughout, unleashing off-kilter grooves and dissonant aberrations with each convulsion. The drumming absolutely boggles the mind with its complex array of rhythmic busts that seem to conflict with, and compliment, the rest of the instrumentation. The dual vocal assault from Mike DiSalvo (ex-Cryptopsy) and Austin Taylor is the icing on this psychopathic cake, as both vocalists belt out myriads of screams, screeches, growls and other devilish ululations.
But “Iron Empress” is only the beginning, as the record becomes more abstract and vile as it progresses. Tracks like “Drowning Into Sorrow” and the tumultuous title track opt for a more sprawling approach that utilizes more spacing. Though these tracks do feature the occasional burst of chaotic guitar acrobatics, they are mostly comprised of staggering riffs that slowly and fluidly morph between one another, and are peppered with atonal, angular leads. The title track is particularly notable for its bizarre, pulsating rhythmic presence that sounds like macabre re-imagining of mid-era Meshuggah. “Everything Is Meant to Kill Us” weaves together flurries of noisy debauchery with cold, grinding, mechanical grooves that call the work of Car Bomb to mind. “Petrified Tears” is also worth noting for its bellowing low-end and doom-laden crawls that jerk and twist sporadically in such a way that the listener’s equilibrium will be demolished.
Mind Cemeteries is a dense, frightening and delightfully strange release that no review will be able to effectively cover every facet of what it has to offer. Coma Cluster Void is poised to be another celebrated act within the death metal scene, thanks to this truly monstrous release that will leave listeners breathless. Those looking for a challenging and insurmountably brutal listen will have to look no further.
Release Date: August 26, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Iron Empress”, “Mind Cemeteries”, “Path of Lies”, “The Hollow Gaze” and “Everything Is Meant to Kill Us”
For Fans Of: Gorguts, Soreption, Ulcerate and Pyrrhon