Released: 2016, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
If you’re looking for a fresh spin on workaday tech-death, Coma Cluster Void will fill the bill and then some. Operating with a formidable vocal tandem – including Mike DiSalvo, ex of Cryptopsy – and fueled by the insanely athletic 10-string guitar gymnastics of John Streider, the band takes tech-death for a truly wild ride that really has to be heard to be believed. And even then, it might be hard to.
After the brief, serene introduction “Prologue: I Am,” which sounds like an orchestra tuning up, the sonic shitstorm begins on “Iron Empress” with a hail of shrill, swirling riffing, dive-bombing bass lines, spastic drumming and shouting match vocals. Everything is pretty much utter musical chaos done to the nth degree from hereon out – save for a brief “Interlude” and “Epilogue.”
The musical approach on Mind Cemeteries sounds something like a crazy-quilt blend of the free jazz sensibilities of John Zorn's Painkiller – sans the sax – or Fantomas/Mr. Bungle, the avant garde death metal of Cryptopsy or Gorguts, the math-metal histrionics of Dillinger Escape Plan and - especially on the title track, “Everything Is Meant To Kill Us” and “Path Of Lies” - the brown sound heft of Meshuggah.
Structure and compositional convention fly right out the window here and melody makes but fleeting appearances. Some songs, notably the free-form “The Hollow Gaze” or the downright terrifying “Petrified Tears,” feel less like, well, songs and more like improvs or jams. Others feature briefly recognizable hooks or straight-forward vocal lines, but quickly devolve back into discordance and disarray.
Artificial Brain's Will Smith and original Cryptopsy frontman Lord Worm make guest appearances here, but their contributions – and more importantly their personalities - get somewhat lost in all the turbulence that surrounds them. Indeed the most resonant vocals come at the very end in the creepy shouted preaching on “Epilogue: As I Walk Amongst The Sick” - and I'm not sure who's responsible for that.
Mind Cemeteries is an overwhelming, confounding and exhausting listen. It takes a few spins to even begin to make heads or tails out of it, which is probably asking too much of a lot of folks – even those who aren't instantly turned off by the utter elasticity and amorphousness of the music here. So if you really are looking for a fresh spin on workaday tech-death, careful what you wish for.