Reviews (Thoughts From A Stone)

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Coma Cluster Void’s debut album Mind Cemeteries was 45 minutes of dissonant, cryptic, esoteric death metal that took a few spins to fully appreciate, but when you did conquer its challenging extreme metal worldview, it yielded many rewards and treasures.

The band are now back with this latest EP; 22 minutes of experimental, technical, avant-garde death metal, steeped in dissonance and atypical riffs and seemingly born in an alternate dimension. As I stated on my review of Mind Cemeteries – this is not your typical death metal release, not at all. In fact, on Thoughts from a Stone the band have pushed the envelope even further, with a variety of different styles, moods, and textures explored across the playing time.

With experimental guests and added instrumentation, (including 10-string guitar, cello, and violin), as well as even greater variety in vocals, this EP demonstrates that Coma Cluster Void are willing to do whatever it takes to fully explore their creative horizons. It’s great to hear a band totally allow themselves the freedom to do whatever they like, and on Thoughts from a Stone it has paid off handsomely.

Replete with all manner of interesting and unusual ideas, wrapped in dissonant riffs, angular beats, and strange, barely human vocals, the tracks mutate and warp into and out of each other with one sinuous, disturbing flow. Although it’s divided into six tracks, this is essentially one long song; my only real complaint about this release is that I would have preferred it if they’d actually have released it as such, instead of chopping it up. Still, a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things.

Bewildering and chaotic, but with its own internal logic, Thoughts from a Stone needs to be heard and absorbed repeatedly before you can truly make sense of it. As it’s been sliced up, it’s best take it in one complete listening too – playing the tracks randomly on shuffle, for example, would simply make it even harder to digest. Like the band’s full-length though, once you get to know the twisting, confusing avenues that the music steers you down, there’s ample rewards to be had.


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-Peripheryriffs 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 StoneComa 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: UlsectJohn FrumMeshuggah

Pre-order Thoughts From A Stone on Bandcamp, and check out Coma Cluster Void on Facebook and YouTube.

Coma Cluster Void doesn’t do things like other bands. The group’s Thoughts From a Stone is a 22-minute piece, and its brand new video “Mother, Dreamer”, extracted from the larger composition, arrives as a 360° Panorama video. With haunting, classically-inspired passages, doses of technical death metal and hard-edged progressive rock, the track is undeniably unsettling and yet impossibly entertaining. 

The group is comprised of Mike DiSalvo (ex-Cryptopsy), Austin Taylor and Genevieve DiSalvo trading off on lead guttural vocals, Sylvia Hinz providing classical mezzo-soprano vocals, bass guitar and double bass recorder, Strieder on 10-string guitar and cello, Chris Burrows on drums and guest Alexa Renger on violin.

When the band formed in 2013, the members agreed that Coma Cluster Void would be a vehicle for storytelling, both through musical composition and the written word to expand the palette of expression in metal music. Thoughts From a Stone, a one-movement symphony, connects with the collective’s first album, Mind Cemeteries as well: It provides the backstory of the mysterious Iron Empress, a character pivotal to that earlier work.

“We dare ask ourselves is this the penance for our ignorance and war driven lack of respect towards one another?” the band offers “Herein lies a horrific testament to being careful about what you ask for. For what is brought forth is knowingly going to destroy the nature of our Grand Mother as well as the ones who summon and those that ‘betray’ the summoners.”

Coma Cluster Void’s Thoughts From a Stone is out 13 October via Translation Loss and may be pre-ordered.


CCV's full length debut 'Mind Cemeteries' has definitely shocked the dissonant, extreme Metal underground and turned a lot of heads last year... including yours - unless you've been living under a rock, that is. But if you thought 'Mind Cemeteries' was challenging already, you better sit the fuck down for 'Thoughts From a Stone', because Coma Cluster Void are not making it easier for you this time around.

The EP features one continuous track that clocks in just under 22 minutes. I am not usually too fond of this kind of concept... admittedly, not even when Gorguts are doing it. But let's face it: More often than not, those single, long and drawn-out track releases are not technically a single song, but rather a number of songs thrown together and blended into each other by forgettable jam bits or "ambient" instrumental transitions. There are bands that can make excessively lengthy tracks work, but they usually have to be a little more free-form and "out there" for me to be into it, like Khanate, Kayo Dot or Ehnahre, to name a few examples.

You can add Coma Cluster Void to this list now. While 'Mind Cemeteries' had a more regular album track list, TFAS feels like a true, coherent musical piece - which comes as no surprise, knowing guitarist Strieder's background as a composer. 'Thoughts From a Stone' does have a track listing of six individual tracks (on Bandcamp), but those are more than likely linked to lyrical chapters rather than individual songs.

Either way, this EP is even more tough and chewy than the debut. It builds up with a quite sludgy pace, erupts in temporary frenzy, often collapses into hauntingly intense spoken word parts, only to throw you back into a raging sea of the band's signature, chaotic "anti grooves". The overall direction is more heavy than the debut, and it is seriously challenging, but still feels very coherent. And once it draws you in, you get a sense that all of the chaos and madness is leading somewhere.

And it sure is. The second half of 'Thoughts From a Stone' has some seriously deranged sounding moments and the instrumentation breaks out of your "typical" Metal setup as well. Not that a 10-string guitar in an atonal open tuning is that typical, but... you know, there is more to explore here. I could try to describe the climax the composition is building up towards, but I think you just gotta hear it for yourself.

Coma Cluster Void are not taking the easy route with this EP. With a debut as chaotic, atonal and intense as 'Mind Cemeteries', the international collective is now taking its art even further to the fringes of even the most extreme Metal niches. 'Thoughts From a Stone' is no background music. It requires all of your attention and will test your tolerance for chaotic structures and atonality. Its strength lies beneath what the superficial Metal listener will be able to grasp, but it's going to be highly rewarding for those of you who are willing to dive into it. Coma Cluster Void are true pioneers of their genre, at a time where most of us feel like we've heard it all.

You can pre-order the EP on quite spectacular looking vinyl here: