Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries


I’ve known Coma Cluster Void guitarist and composer John Strieder for a few years now. We actually initially met through the Dissonant Network group, started communicating regularly and ended up collaborating for my old band War From A Harlots Mouth’s final album ‘Voyeur’. He composed and performed a number of interludes that really tied the album and its vibe together and also kept recommending great and inspiring contemporary composers to me during the writing process. I never really thought about it, but he probably pushed me further as a musician with all of his input. And when he told me that he was working on his own Extreme Metal project, I knew it was gonna be special.

This project includes his partner Sylvia Hinz, who I met when she performed a piece written by John with her trio XelmYa in Berlin. She now plays bass in Coma Cluster Void. Vocal duties are handled by no other than Mike DiSalvo, who was on two of my favorite Cryptopsy albums. I’m not incredibly familiar with the other musicians, although I did check out drummer Chris’ band Thoren before.

But let’s cut to the chase! Coma Cluster Void are really pushing it here. You know, as someone who grew up on Mathcore, a genre which is built upon chaotic structures and often overwhelming technicality, and has moved on to really fall in love with atonality and dissonance further down the line, I sometimes feel like I’ve heard it all. And with that being said, ‘Mind Cemeteries’ doesn’t necessary present anything I haven’t heard before, but it pushes the elements it consists of further than what most of us are used to.

Coma Cluster Void’s “anti-grooves” are probably even more chaotic and entangled than the sweeping blow of a Mathgrind classic that Ion Dissonance unleashed with ‘Solace’ about a decade ago. And the level of dissonance is nothing short of ubiquitous. You will not find a forgiving or loosening melody on this album. Zero. The atonality is punishingly intense at all times.

And not only that… Coma Cluster Void also operate with a low end that puts Meshuggah to shame. John plays a 10-string guitar and while I usually find everything beyond 8 strings ridiculous and useless, it certainly is anything but in this band. I know he uses some weird and dissonant as fuck open tuning and was actually certain he would pull it off, despite my general reservations with such guitars. And ‘Mind Cemeteries’ is proof of that. You probably need people thinking outside of the box with these types of instruments. I’m pretty sure that 4 out of the 5 people on earth who actually bought a 10-string guitar either don’t know what to do with it or senselessly chug themselves to sleep on the lowest strings.

The only thing I have a hard time telling apart is the dual vocal performance. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the vocals on ‘Mind Cemeteries’. They are an intensely growling assault, reeking of pain and mental suffering. But both vocalists, DiSalvo and Taylor, seem to have a fairly similar range. Not that it’s a disadvantage… the end justifies the means, right?!

Let me try to wrap this up. ‘Mind Cemeteries’ is really eating away at me in the best possible ways. It is filled to the brim with everything I (have) love(d) about extreme music throughout the years: Chaos, dissonance and a pummeling low end! Coma Cluster Void are not reinventing the wheel, but they made a wheel that goes further while crushing everything in its way. If there ever was an album that could rival some of the groundbreaking releases in forward thinking extreme music, this is probably it. I am extremely impressed with ‘Mind Cemeteries’ and feel like it will hit the underground like a sledgehammer. But it’s also a tough pill to swallow. Lots of “regular” extreme Metal people out there will simply collapse under the weight and density of it. But to me personally, this challenging listen makes the experience just that much more rewarding. All I could still wish for is for Coma Cluster Void to become a touring band. I want to witness the madness live and loud!