Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format


Hey there tech-fiends, it's that time of the week again! It seems a lot of you really enjoyed last weeks early Cognizance stream, so I'm happy to be able to keep up the early stream format again this week with a private full stream of the new Coma Cluster Void album. But before we dive into that, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for more music you can peruse all prior editions of this series here.

In the past decade or so there has been a growing niche of technical death metal bands whose approach is far more unorthodox and uglier than a lot of the super shreddy stuff you tend to here. This new wave has really led to a lot of interesting music and new forms of technical death metal that sound fresh. Some of which I've taken the time to cover in this space before when covering groups like Khariot, Thaetas, Intonate, Replicant, Sunless, Michel Anoia, and several others. So brace yourself for the skronky weirdness, because multi-national group Coma Cluster Void are the strongest newcomer to atonal minded technical death metal I've heard in a long time.

Having first been clued into the band about three years ago by my editor at Nocleansinging, I knew these guys were on to something special, but couldn't fathom just how bat-shit insane and brilliant their album Mind Cemeteries would actually be in its entirety. No one out there really sounds like Coma Cluster Void in the sense of covering the totality of their expansive sonic palette, but there are at least some groups and elements that can be pointed to in order to give you a ballpark for what you're getting yourself into. Imagine if you will the chaotic and zany ideas found in mathcore groups like Dillinger Escape Plan and Ion Dissonance mixed with the disturbing dissonance of groups like Gorguts, Ulcerate and Deathspell Omega. Then add a pinch of off-kilter groove influence from groups like Car Bomb and Meshuggah to the above blend. Churn all that volatile shit together and make the resulting blend as spastically choppy and discordant as possible, and you're somewhere near the fucked up and unhinged sound that Coma Cluster Void play. In addition, the modern classical minded interludes on the album are fantastic and give off an almost horror film score vibe that further enhances the grim and eerie atmosphere present throughout Mind Cemeteries .

Without a doubt, Mind Cemeteries is one of the best things I've heard all year, although I get the feeling that its so out there that what's really going on here will fly right over some people's heads. And that's okay since this is hardly the kind of music that's easy to fully comprehend even after multiple listens. But for those adventurous listeners looking to hear what they haven't heard before, Mind Cemeteries will quickly become your new favorite album. You can pre-order Mind Cemeteries through their Bandcamp Page here. Be sure to follow them on their Facebook Page too! Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries officially comes out this Friday, August 26th.


The eclectic group of musicians discuss classical influences, 10-string guitars, and the new album.

Coma Cluster Void are an eclectic math metal collective with members from USA, Canada, and Germany featuring Mike Disalvo (Ex- Cryptopsy), 10-string guitar, and mind-breaking drumming.   Their new album, Mind Cemetaries, is a whirlwind of technical musicianship and is bound to end up on many end of year lists.  We got a chance to pick the brains of several members to learn more about the album, the influences, and what’s in store for this exciting group.

TO (FlightOfIcarus): First off, could you give a little background on how you all came together to form this project?
John Strieder: Coma Cluster Void was founded in 2013 by me and Sylvia Hinz and based on the idea to bring our musical ideas into a metal outfit and to find people who join us and are willing to create this music with us and without any compromise.

TO (Shrivatsan): When the band was being formed, did you have specific people in mind for the vocals and drums? Or did it happen along the way?
John: It wasn’t easy to find a drummer who has the stylistic variety and the grip on complex rhythms to fit in with our music. After some search and “auditioning” online, we got from Anthony Lipari, mastermind of Thoren, the tip to check out Chris Burrows. We watched his youtube channel and took him right away. Since we were always a fan of Mike DiSalvo on albums like ‘… and then you’ll beg’, we were at first searching for a vocalist with a similar style. Eventually Sylvia was able to find and contact Mike himself, who was intrigued by our demos and other works and was in. Due the auditioning of other vocalists the idea shaped to have dueling vocalists, and being impressed with Austin Taylor’s work at Dimensionless, we asked him and he was in, too! Having two vocalists gives the opportunity for dense vocal arrangements in a natural way without any overdubs/overlaps or other effects. In general, we strive for rawness without effects.

TO (S): Founding members Sylvia Hinz and John Strieder both have backgrounds in classical music. Where did the inspiration to pursue death metal come from?
John: Sylvia and I always search for extreme expression, and both can be found in the works of many composers of the 20th and 21st century. The music envisioned at the beginning of the 20th century were moving away more than ever from music that is just entertainment, towards a music that truly grabs the listener by the heart (and the throat). The most extreme style of metal is – at least for us – primarly death metal. This makes for us both forms of music very similar. Actually, for me it’s almost the same 


TO (S): Coma Cluster Void has a multi-national lineup. While it is hard to compose regular death metal when the members are separated, I imagine it to be ten times more complicated with the type of technical playing in Coma Cluster Void. How does a song typically get composed? How are the ideas of different musicians incorporated into the tracks?
John: I think we have a very smooth workflow. We are all uncomplicated people and have a great chemistry together. We use E-Mail and facebook messages and there are not many words needed to get things done. It starts with me writing a complete song and creating a demo of it, I draft down the guitars and program drums. This demo I send out to the other band members, each of them creating their own parts based upon this.

TO (F): Do you find your various locales playing into the music in any special way?
John: I think everyone in the band feels rather international 

TO (S): What are some of the lyrical themes explored on ‘Mind Cemeteries’? Do the lyrics come first or are they fitted to the music after composition?
John: Usually there’s first the instrumental piece, and Mike gets inspired by it for writing lyrics and vocal arrangements for him and Austin. He has a great sense for cool and twisted “catchy” vocal patterns. The Hollow Gaze and partially Everything Is Meant To Kill Us were an exception since the lyrics were first. I give the songs working titles, which are often dismissed later for “real” titles  But sometimes a working title stays and becomes the lyrical basis, like in the case of Petrified Tears, the emotional climax of the whole album. Austin did a great job on those lyrics and his vocal arrangements are insane. All lyrics are set in the world and circle around the being we can see on the album cover artwork.

TO (S): The music seems to have a lot of influences from classical dissonant music. For metal fans looking to explore some of the classical inspirations behind Coma Cluster Void, what are the starting points you’d suggest?
John: It pretty much comes from my own composing, so if you are into Coma Cluster Void, you might check out my “classical” dissonant compositions as well. Apart from myself, the music of the 20th and 21st century is so incredibly diverse, there’s lovely stuff for everyone. The otherworldly compositions by Rebecca Saunders, which can be extremely quiet as well as extremely violent, the powerful works of Brian Ferneyhough, the incredibly experimental minded György Ligeti (who made fascinating stylistic shifts over his career), or the endless streams of beautytasty dissonant sounds by Morton Feldman …
Sylvia Hinz: Some of the composers I performed, solo or with my Ensembles: Violeta Dinescu, Mathias Spahlinger, althought his music is pretty hardcore, Gloria Coates … the list could be endless …
John: Oh yeah, Gloria Coates’ string quartets are the musical embodiment of eternal depression 

TO (F): What about metal influences? What bands were you listening to the most when you wrote this album? Who are your band’s biggest inspirations?
John: I actually listened to a lot of old school death metal, haha! I grew up with bands like Pantera, Crowbar, Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse. I think I listened hundreds of times to ‘The Bleeding’! I remember having some songs of ‘Altars as Madness’ on a cassette tape and listened to it over and over again or how I recorded encrypted MTV Headbanger’s Ball Show to tape. What times!
Mike DiSalvo: I have an eclectic taste in music but I agree with John, I have been listening to a ton of old school death metal like Dismember‘s ‘Like An Ever Flowing Stream’ and Bolt Thrower‘s ‘Realms of Chaos’ but I have also been spinning the last couple releases by Opeth and Katatoniabigtime. Others that have been hot on my list are Gorguts – ‘Pleiades’ Dust’, Steven Wilson – ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase.’ and the new Abbath record. I could go on and on but these albums have been on heavy rotation for a while now.
Chris Burrows: I love drummers who push the envelope in how much versatility they can bring to the table, while also saying something equally innovative and musical. Drummers such as Martin Lopez, Jason Rullo, Chris Adler, Virgil Donati, Gavin Harrison and Dan “Loord” Foord were hugely influential.
Austin Taylor: I still get a lot of inspiration from the elders; Ozzy, Plant, Tom Waits.. A far as modern metal, Adam Darski. Fuckin Behemoth \m/

TO (F): It pretty much goes without saying that your songs are extremely difficult to play. Which would you consider the hardest? Why the technical focus to begin with?
John: It’s hard to tell which song is the most difficult to play … each song has different technical difficulties. Ah, Chris just said, Petrified Tears and Everything is Meant To Kill Us were the most challenging drumwise? that might be true for the other instruments as well! Though, writing music that is difficult or complicated is not our goal, I just write what I have in mind, and it automatically sounds like this. I would call it a search for a kind of “richness” in sound. I like music that has a certain amount of detail and richness that keeps your mind occupied.

TO (F): On a similar note, why a 10-string guitar? How did you come to start playing it?
John: The moment I had a guitar in my hands I started experimenting with different tunings, which was decades ago. If you write tonal music, the standard tuning is a convinient tuning. But if you write atonal music, it isn’t convenient anymore. My composition 4 erloschene Bilder(performance by Carlos Bojarski) uses standard tuning, but it was not easy to write my music without compromise in this tuning. Since atonality is a natural expression for me, I created a tuning which turns the instrument back again into something convinient. The amount of strings is a compromise between the desired range and the desired harmonical principles (based strictly on my musical taste  ) of the tuning.

TO(F): Any big plans for touring? Bands you would love to play with in the future?
John: We have no plans for live shows right now. The task of getting five people from Oregon, Michigan, Montreal, and Berlin, each with their own commitments, on one stage seems to be an impossible task 

TO (F): Name for us an underground metal band that few people know about and why people should be paying them more attention.
John: That would be The Abstract, Thoren, Dimensionless, Nightmarer, Wolcott Falls, starkweather, Ad Nauseam, and Old Souls Collective. Just listen 

TO (F): Anything else you would like to share about the band or the album?
John: Thanks for the support! It’s great to see that people dig our sound world. This brings me the following quote by US-american composer Elliott Carter to mind: “As a young man, I harbored the populist idea of writing for the public. I learned that the public didn’t care. So I decided to write for myself. Since then, people have gotten interested.”

Tags: , , , , ,


Flight of IcarusFlightofIcarus is a father, licensed counselor, and full time metalhead. When he is not working and spending time with family, he is writing furiously to promote underground bands on his own site, Metal Trenches. He believes staunchly in writing only constructive reviews, and his favorite bands include Dark Tranquillity, Enslaved, Poison the Well, and Deftones. You can also buy his ebook, The ABC’s of Black Metal.


A good experiment doesn’t have to produce positive results. Acid was a great experiment but The Grateful Deadexist, so…

Some excursions into the unknown reveal horrendous truths. Mind Cemeteries by international mathcore collective Coma Cluster Void is one such truth. Showcasing the extended range guitar in a manner as yet unheard, this is a musical foray into testing the limits of how much disarray can exist in sound. It’s also really brutal. Just before this gets too fucking prog. This is so far from pretentious that it’s probably pretentious again. But not at the same time.

It’s mind numbing how artists from all over the world can pool to create something so claustrophobic and intrinsic. There’s no distance between any note or sound on this record. The gaps between low register guitar manipulation and seething vocals are filled with droning notes and out of this world resonance. While still at it’s manipulated (and now probably mechanised) heart a math metal sound, Mind Cemeteries is a creation that contort the genre in a new fashion. At the very least, it’s going to pull acts towards the dissonant and microtonal movement. Pull them and push them and flip them on their head to be berated by a sound fitting of a Stanley Kubrick torture scene. It’s unsettling, like all good, savage math metal should be.

As playful and nightmarish as Pyrrhon, Coma Cluster Void beats just as hard as bands more associated with bottom string assault. Such as Ion Dissonance. That was never going to be much of a stretch to pull that reference out. The similarities start and end with both acts ability to constantly cartwheel between groove and bedlam. The machinations of instrument and voice conspire and create music inherently pleasurable for anyone wanting to flirt with the void. Maybe just dip a toe in to see how low things can really get. “Everything Is Meant To Kill Us”. Yep. Especially this track. The track list isn’t entirely necessary. It could be played like the recent Gorguts release. One long trip to places most unpleasant. A lot can be said for music that can suck the life out of a room in a positive light.

What doesn’t suck are the “filler” tracks. Existing to bridge the chasm between ventures into parts unknown, the unearthly string sounds are sharp enough to cut the hairs they make stand on end. Listen to the band and imagine it slowed down by a few thousand rpm. It isn’t too dissimilar. These tracks are just an integral part of the experiment and shall not be skipped. The build up from the segue into “The Hollow Gaze” is an unmatchable showcase of just how to bring chaos to life. There are stunning bursts of staccato guitar fire that can help invoke an unshakable sense of dread, but nothing quite like the final closing strings of this practically flawless record.

It’s hard to say where this belongs because it won’t cut it for members of any particular party. Coma Cluster Void as a group make music finely tuned to turn clean pants into shitty pants. It’s a jaw dropping result from multiple dissections of genres and styles. Not simply cutting and pasting into the correct box but bending the edges of everything set before it. There’s no need to totally mess with extreme music. It’s all just noise, isn’t it? Mind Cemeteries is just an all too welcome example of how to warp noise into a product inherently addictive. Despite its prevalence for dropping the brown note.




Coma Cluster Void are a death metal band, (of sorts), and this is their debut album. They have an international lineup, with members from Canada, Germany and the US.

This album features not one, but two ex-Cryptopsy singers. You heard that right. To be fair, one of them, (Lord Worm), is only a guest vocalist on a couple of tracks, but still. The other, (Mike DiSalvo), is only one half of the vocal attack, the other half being provided by the singer of Dimensionless.

This is not your typical death metal release, not at all. Think of it as an avant-garde mathcore death metal album, with a mind-bending guitarist who plays a 10-string. Oh yes.

If you toss Ion Dissonance, Gorguts, Meshuggah, Botch, Sikth, Blood Has Been Shed and Pyrrhon into a blender, you’ll probably only come halfway close to the racket that Coma Cluster Void create, but it’ll give you a decent starting point.

The songs are progressive, technical and experimental death metal taken to the nth degree, all raging heaviness and off-kilter beats. The band certainly don’t lack for inventiveness, that’s for sure. There are also elements of chaotic hardcore and djent in the mix, as well as the kind of metalled-up discordant jaw-dropping extremity that a band like The Dillinger Escape Plan do so very well.

This is a collection of tracks that takes some time to settle into your brain, but when it does, and when you start being able to follow what the band are doing a bit more, (rather than being constantly blindsided by what happens next), Mind Cemeteries slots into place so well, you start to wonder what you did without it.

This is not easy listening, and will probably even pass by a lot of hardened metal fans, so atypical and harsh is it. However, if you’re in the market for something a bit more different and a bit more challenging than your average extreme metal fare, then Coma Cluster Void should be your first port of call.