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Dense, dynamic, highly complex and insurmountably heavy; Coma Cluster Void’s uniquely terrifying brand of technical death metal is something to behold. From their 2016 opus Mind Cemeteries, to their recently-released EP Thoughts From a Stone, it is clear that the sextet are on a path towards death metal greatness, refusing to sacrifice their singular artistic vision. Their music is meticulously constructed yet devastatingly chaotic, bringing together the best that technical and experimental metal has to offer.

Svbterranean recently caught up with five-sixths of the band to discuss their approach to their music, their new recording and more.

Could you please introduce yourself and your role in Coma Cluster Void?
Mike: I’m Mike and I do a lot of screaming and writing of some words.

Chris: I’m Chris and I record my drum-set being thrown down the stairs!

Sylvia: Hello, i am Sylvia Hinz and i love to destroy bass lines and other stuff.

Austin: I’m Austin, I yell at microphones.

Strieder: Hi, I’m J. Strieder and I am the artistic director of the band. I write the music, play the guitars, do the mixing and mastering, the artworks and illustrations.

How did the band come together?
Sylvia: Strieder and I always felt drawn towards extreme forms of music, like dissonant art music and metal, and at some point Strieder wanted to pursue our ideas in a metal setting. It took us a while to search for the right people for this project: passionate and reliable people, owning the gear needed to record from home, so we won’t have to face regional limits regarding the choice of comrades for CCV.

Mike: Both Strieder and Sylvia reached out to me online expressing their interest in having me check out some music snippets that they were putting together for CCV. I am typically a bit guarded when receiving emails like this but I checked it out of course and immediately fell in love with what they were doing. It was an absolute no brainer to join in their vision.

Chris: My friend and Thoren guitarist, Anthony Lipari, introduced me to Strieder and after exchanging Spaceballs memes in Facebook chat, the rest was history.

Austin: I had worked on an online collaboration with Anthony Columbus, who said he had some ‘secret german technology’ to produce it (that was Strieder). Later Strieder contacted me in regards to being one of the CCV vocalists.

How do you feel the band’s sound, or your approach to writing for the band, has changed since its inception?
Strieder: I have a sort of map in my head of things I want to do, but this map expands along as well, because every new option creates new branches of options. There’s a german expression … “not to fall into the house with the door”. We want to take people on a journey, “Mind Cemeteries” was the beginning, “Thoughts From A Stone” takes things further.

Mike: Mind Cemeteries was the first experience in sending files back and forth and not jamming with a band in the same room. Once I was able to get passed the traditional way of writing/playing, it was very easy to work in this fashion. The songs (and Strieder) have pushed me to new limits in writing, which I welcome. As an artist I never want to stay pigeon-holed and CCV has allowed myself to expand my writing style and arrangement focus. Through both releases, this expansion has been prominent.


How do you feel writing and performing with Coma Cluster Void has pushed you as a musician?
Austin: In order to fit vocals to the material, I had to wrap my mind around it first. I do this not through the numbers and structure of the song, but the mood and story being told. The instruments create such a dense canvas, getting lost can be easy and make it tempting to just follow a single instrument or sing ‘over’ the music. Finding the medium between the two has been the real journey thus far for me. Matching the vocal performances of others [for a natural doubling] can pose quite a challenge as well!

Mike: I agree with what Austin has to say, I too had to listen to the material over and over to really figure it all out. Once it starts to make sense, then the placement and arrangements begin to form.

Sylvia: For me, finding the time to play the bass besides my classical and experimental endeavours was a struggle at first, but after a while, and in correspondence and exchange with the others, i was able to create time frames for the work on CCV.

Chris: The rhythmic ideas presented are unlike anything I could get away with in any other band. Sure, some bands might throw in odd time signatures, polyrhythms, or metric modulations, but even those have conventions. We expand further on layered polyrhythms, complex tuplets, tempo modulations and making every measure ebb and flow in a way you haven’t heard before in metal.

Strieder: But of course, in the end, the song is the most important thing. Let me give an example: When we stack multiple layers of polyrhythms and subdivisions in the later part of “Thoughts From A Stone” (the accompaniment of Sylvia’s mezzo soprano vocals) it is to express an flood of feeling(s). It’s an allegory:„flood“ is derived from “flood of water”, and becomes here a “flood of notes”.

Thoughts from a Stone is essentially one longer piece of music in which all tracks move seamlessly into one another. Was it the band’s intention to create one flowing piece or did everything come together organically during the writing process?
Mike: This had been planned out from the get-go: a 22 minute opus with a variety of moods, colors and textures for the listener to interpret. Once Strieder presented the skeleton in both written and musical direction, it was time to hunker down and work our parts into the body of the composition. It was without a doubt the most challenging piece of music that I have personally worked on. For many years I have wanted to be involved with a long song like this so once it was completed and we (Gen and I) were able to just sit down with headphones and take it all in, I too couldn’t be more proud of what we did collectively.

Strieder: I usually start with an overall vision of a piece, and then make it more and more detailed. I created an overview of the form and shared it with my band mates, at the end I had a PDF with a letter and a description for each Riff/Part: What is their place, what is their function, and so on. This way, the rest of the band had an orientation guide at hand. It was important for me to continue seamlessly where Mind Cemeteries has left the listener: The last we hear on “Mind Cemeteries” is the sentence “through death we part”, first screamed, then spoken. The first thing we hear on “Thoughts From A Stone” is the same sentence, now even softer. In the same way, we hear in the Prologue, Interlude and Epilogue of “Mind Cemeteries” Sylvia singing (humming) into the double bass recorder while playing, she continues that in the Introduction of Thoughts From A Stone, but then in the middle, she goes from humming into a soft singing style, then into a strong mezzo-soprano voice, and then into scream. TFAS ends with Sylvia humming the same melody into the double bass recorder, as she did in the beginning of Mind Cemeteries, to finally close the circle. I like to describe large bows in music. There were actually some lyrical cites from Mind Cemeteries planned (even recorded), but we decided to drop those … after all, things shouldn’t be too obvious ;)

How would you compare it to your previous full-length, Mind Cemeteries?
Strieder: Personally I don’t think it’s of much use to compare them. Despite being set in the same world, they tell different stories, thus the music is different.

Sylvia: It’s the same band :D


What were some of the challenges faced, if any were faced, during the writing process of Thoughts from a Stone?
Chris: The piece’s base are quintuplets at 80 bpm. However, in a drumming context, some phrases felt better to play in a different subdivision and tempo. Coordinating tempo modulations online was not the easiest, which resulted in some interesting and nuanced phrase lengths and transitions. It was the most challenging thing I ever recorded. I didn’t think I would be able to do what I did in a metal context. I’m super proud!

Sylvia: It’s always a challenge to give the bass lines its own special character, next to the 10-string guitar.

Strieder: The bass often has a key role, since multiple riffs throughout the album are based on the same quintuplet motif we hear in the first Riff. It is supposed to remind the listener where a “new” riff originated from.

What are some of the themes explored on Thoughts from a Stone and what does the title imply?
Strieder: It’s a picture I carried for a long while with me: What if we could hear the thoughts of a stone that is corroding throughout the aeons, seeing formation and extinction of all kinds? Or, even not that. Just that the stone thinks. But of course, „stone“ is also a synonym for the planet we live on.

In general, where do the band’s lyrics and themes draw influence from?
Mike: You know, a lot of the themes over the first record are based on real life scenarios and how we cope with loss, depression, character building ordeals and everyday life as individuals. Yes, it may be one person’s take lyrically but most people can relate in some degree or another.

How do you feel the music on Thoughts from a Stone compliments its themes, or vice versa?
Austin: I feel like the theme and music aren’t separate from each other, it’s but one thought. The dynamics and textures paint a vivid picture of a twisted world, the Iron Empress, and her kin. The wordsand characters portrayed create a need for the music.

Mike: In the case of the song Iron Empress and the lyrical approach for TFAS, it’s a fictional character with an undertone of real life moments and perceptions. Strieder and I had discussed the theme for TFAS well in advance, pretty much right after MC was released so there was plenty of time to mull everything over and properly set the tone of the song.

800 Coma Cluster Void - tfas High Res Cover Art

How does the artwork tie into the concepts of the record?
Strieder: A lot of things we do are based on allegories, archaic ones as well as our own ones. Things can mean multiple things at the same time. Like mentioned, this goes down far into the musical micro- and macrocosm, but also the lyrics, and in addition the artwork. Within the Artwork, I interpreted the „Thoughts From A Stone“ as to us seeing the „brain“ of the „stone“, as temples of gigantic labyrinthic stone fractals, labyrinthic like the music …

Coma Cluster Void utilizes dissonance heavily in its music. What do you feel dissonance adds to CCV’s music and heavy music as a whole?
Strieder: It’s what attracted me to metal in the first place. It’s what makes the difference between Iron Maiden and Slayer. Slayer use “dissonant melodies (riffs)” which doesn’t fit the diatonic scale. Sometimes they play them in parallel minor thirds (sometimes parallel major thirds), annulling the diatonic scale even more. All this resulting in their dark and brutal tone. That’s one of the reasons “Reign in Blood” is so great: The pureness of it.
I have the feeling that in the metal community today, “dissonance” is only associated with “screechy” chords, while it actually has been about the whole dark side of metal, all the time.

Chris: I just don’t think you can sound as aggressive as possible without using dissonance. There’s a quality to it, when arranged correctly, that presents a unique and suffocating atmosphere.

Strieder: The whole theme is rather complex, and it’s hard to make a short statement that is true for all cases, and it also depends on your background. In the classical sense, there are only two consonant chords, everything else is considered dissonant. On the other hand, in the classical sense, all Jazz chords are considered dissonant, whereas in their sense within Jazz they aren’t! Personally, I care only about how much I like sounds and how much those sounds are capable of expressing my emotions. My natural language is dissonant and atonal, and it’s all from the heart.

In your opinion, what are some of the pros and cons of modern technical death metal, or even metal general? How do you feel Coma Cluster Void sticks out among the crowd?
Strieder: For me, it’s a predetermined chamber ensemble of instruments. If you listen to a record or visit a concert with string quartets from various composers from the 18th century up to today, every piece has the same instruments and the same sound, yet the music can be totally different. You have to create your individuality with the composition itself. This is quite fascinating for me: the way of thinking music from different minds poured into the same form! Coma Cluster Void is my take on the predetermined “metal ensemble” (two Guitars, one bass, one drum kit plus vocals). This is also the reason why we don’t use overdubs (like ambience guitar or Soli) or doublings, because if in a String Quartet apparently an third Violinist jumps on the stage, the idea is killed, haha!

Austin: When I heard the CCV material years ago I was blown away, it was some of the heaviest audio I had found, just insane. Then Strieder sent me the first track to do vocals to and I was taken back by the honest, emotive lyrics Mike had written. It wasn’t cookie cutter metal themes like ‘corpse rot snot shot’ or ‘sub-human organism meta-consciousness imploder’. I have been out of the death metal thing for awhile. It all seemed to mush together as the computers took over. Not only are performances being stripped of emotion, there is no real substance in lots of it anyways. CCV is a beast of details and depth, so much thought goes into each release that even after repeated listens, there is always more to hear and learn.

Sylvia: We aim to follow our own path musically and lyrically.

Chris: I find it suffocating to think you have to play to any implied pros or cons of a genre. My tastes evolve and I do what I like to do; as should other people, even if it doesn’t “break the mold” you should still have fun! That being said, I just really like injecting my brand of math and groove into an ensemble, and I study techniques to constantly develop my personal type of phrasing.

Any final words or thoughts?
Austin: Thanks for the interview! We are still just scratching the surface, stay unconventionally tuned for more.


Follow Coma Cluster Void on Facebook and purchase Thoughts From a Stone from here.


Profile: Mike DiSalvo of Coma Cluster Void

That name ring a bell? It should and especially for ’98 and ’00 Crytopsy fans. With memory jogged, Mike Disalvo‘s new digs Coma Cluster Void recently released their second album Thoughts From a Stonewhich is an amazing 21 plus minute journey through dissonance, mathy prog, technical death metal and downright dark soundscapes. This amalgam is thrown around a lot, particularly as of late, but this band actually delivers and successfully so. They push boundaries and give the listener a ton to chew on and a ton to think about while keeping things fresh and exhilarating. We recently had the opportunity to ask DiSalvo our set of Profile questions so head inside to see what he had to say but also to hear the album for yourself.

Coma Cluster Void - Thoughts From a Stone

How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?

When I was a kid I always gravitated towards music and remembering lyrics and patterns. Back then it was my parents music which was alot of AM Gold type tunes and of course the oldies. They had a record player that you could stack 45’s which would act like a jukebox and they had tons of them with artists like The Beatles, Elvis, Fats Domino, Nat King Cole, stuff like that and I would sit in front of the speakers and just take it all in. I think I was 11 years old when I got my first cassette, it was Journey – Evolution, which I played the shit out of. Next was Zeppelin IV. I eventually became an unstoppable music buyer. Everytime I would get $20 for my birthday or a holiday, I spent it on music. Fast forward to when I was 17 years old, I acted on my dream to start a band but I played no instruments (except for trying a short clarinet stint around 12 years old) so fat chance right? My friends were dabbling with guitars and drums and one of them had an old reporters mic so I stepped on up at a small ham-jam and sang like complete shit…but it was my start. From then on, we would get together with other friends who were learning how to play and eventually over these little get togethers, I started to find my voice. My rhythm was stable, my voice was not. I built on all of it from there. Success wise, sure I am super happy with what I have achieved. Not everyone has the experiences that I have had through music, I mean just the people alone that I have met over the years and the incredibly gifted musicians that I have shared a stage, studio or jam space with is success enough.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.

My first actual gigging band was Skeletal Onslaught, an unfortunate name but a major stepping stone in my career. They were my friends and we learned a lot together. We gigged around the Boston area and a few places in New Hampshire and I finally had the big idea to call up The Channel (a famed club in Boston) to see if we could get on a show. It was super far fetched that we would ever get in there but I tried to book us anyways. I reach the booker and right away he says “Oh yeah, you guys are the ones that called about opening for the Morbid Angel gig, right?” To which my immediate answer was ” Yep, that’s us”! He gave us the opening spot for Morbid Angel who was touring for Alters of Madness. Of course this was my first time calling and some other band just got knocked off the bill, haha. That was my first “big show”.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

The great things I see are more and more bands pushing metal to new boundaries. Growth is good, it keeps the scene alive and well. The worst; there is too much shit talking about bands. In the grand scheme of things, the scene is small and it needs the support of the metal community. You may have an opinion but I always wonder why that opinion becomes so personal towards a band you might not like. Wishing somebody dead or personally attacking someone’s integrity because they don’t play your style of metal is absurd. Unity goes a lot further for a scene than picking apart musician’s abilities or decisions on which musical direction they want to go. Again, I am not saying that you can’t form an opinion on whether you think an album sucks or not, just why be so divisive with written or verbal comments. Metal has always been the outsider, let’s keep the shit talkin’ to pop music.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).

Well, I used to write on the political side of things when I was younger but I eventually moved out of that phase in terms of lyrical approach. When I do write in that vein, I never use those lyrics anyways, they sit in my black book for my eyes only really. It’s not because I can’t share my political opinions, it’s more like I don’t need to share them openly in this format. Lyrically, some subjects might sneak into a song but it is generally in an indirect way. I don’t need my lyrical content to speak for me in this medium, I can do that myself out of the music context. Issues like social equality, freedom of speech, anti-racism, political preference or an array of others are very important to me, however those subjects may not find themselves directly written about in my passages.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

The easy answer here is AC/DC or Zeppelin but it was probably more like Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath that pushed me to look deeper. All four bands I was big into (still am) but as my tastes got heavier, the more I searched out bands. Like I was saying earlier, it got to a point where I would spend $100 in one shot and get 10 cassettes, knowing probably 3 bands and taking a chance on 7 others, most of them metal. No internet back then equals roll the dice on albums. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am a metal fan til’ the end. My family…well they were concerned. That said, much to his dismay my Father did buy me my first PA system. Without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

Good question! In short, I’m not sure I have an answer for that. There are soooooo many bands out there now, not everyone of them can get plugged in the same fashion as a more house-hold name would but perhaps more coverage could be given to smaller up and coming acts in the larger print media outlets. It’s an important job you guys got, to this day I read reviews and often seek out bands because of them. A smartly written review will get me off my ass to find out what a record is all about. I am constantly looking for new albums to listen to, most of them came from reading a critic’s well written review.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

I can safely say that Coma Cluster Void’s goal is to create music that permeates the soul in ways that are infrequently experienced. We push musical boundaries and we push ourselves to be better by getting out of our comfort zones. Anyone can release the same record with the same patterns and same song structure album after album; we choose to take it to the next level on all fronts. I don’t want to do the same shit I have done before, I want to grow as a musician, approach things in a different light and expand on ideas. Strieder has enabled this for us. May the cult of CCV begin…

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

At present, I am hooked on Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven, Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?, Popul Vuh – Nosferatu OST, Eye – Vision and Ageless Light, Mastodon – Emperor of Sand, Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song and Pallbearer – Heartless, to name a handful. I have an eclectic taste in music, the only styles I won’t listen to is straight up country and bubble gum pop.

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)


Many thanks to Mike for his time!

Thoughts From a Stone is available now on Translation Loss Records. For more information on Coma Cluster Void visit their official website.


There's a big difference between music you just “like” and music that actually is “you”.

Interview: COMA CLUSTER VOID / Monday, 19 December 2016

As you may have noticed, the year is coming to an end. And 2016 will remain, undoubtedly, a quite exceptional year for the metal universe (and beyond). It was for all tastes, in all styles, and often very, very good. 

For me, the biggest slap of the year in extreme metal, the record that has permanently shaken my mind, is Mind Cemeteries by Coma Cluster Void. A metal 3.0 experience: a new band, international (with members from USA, Canada and Germany), and a landmark “brand new sound”.

So when the group members agree to give one of their first interviews for “Shoot Me Again”, it became this …


Hello everybody !  First of all, could you briefly introduce the group?

Strieder: Coma Cluster Void consists of Mike DiSalvo and Austin Taylor on vocals, Chris Burrows on drums, Sylvia Hinz on bass and myself on guitars.


Are you involved in other musical projects? 

Mike: I have another project called Akurion with guys from Neuraxis, Conflux and Cryptopsy (Rob Milley, Tommy McKinnon and Oli Pinard). The material is downtuned yet technical but also lies in the classic death metal arena. Real good stuff!

Strieder: I am a composer and artist, and besides that, I focus completely on CCV.

Chris: I'm the animal that bangs pots and pans (laughs). So far I haven't been told to stop, so I'll keep doing that while everyone else does the actual music part. I also do rhythm stuffs for Detroit metal band, Thoren, and electronic beats for pop/r&b group, Wonderbox.

Sylvia: besides being bass monster @ CCV, I am performing solo, with my ensembles XelmYa ( also involved on Mind Cemeteries ), UMBRATONO, the bewitched project, and conducting and curating, also improvising and recording my own music, like “Windserie”, and working interdisciplinary with other arts. In other words: world domination.

Austin: I have currently two other projects; Dimensionless, atmospheric death, which has become a studio project, and a downtempo project which as of right now is called Selfdestructionist.


How did you meet to form CCV?

Strieder: I've always been drawn to contemporary “classical” music and extreme forms of metal equally, and now it was the right time to start this project ! Me and Sylvia searched a while for the right people for this project: people who are passionate, reliable and able to record from home.

Chris: I met Strieder through mutual friend and Thoren guitarist, Anthony Lipari. Strieder and Sylvia hit me up on Facebook not too long after, resulting in a chat full of Spaceballs memes and a mission to make some discordant, dissonant chaos.

Strieder: And from the beginning, we had Mike in mind for the vocals. Austin we couldn't resist bagging also.

Mike: Strieder and Sylvia approached me online almost simultaneously with a warm welcome to check out some of their material. Of course I was blown away by their abilities and without any hesitation I jumped on.

Austin: When Dimensionless and Anthony Columbus' grindy, down-tuned project Wolcott Falls did a collaboration EP via the internet, Strieder wound up producing it. At some point, Strieder asked me to join Coma Cluster Void.


Who composes and writes the pieces? 

Chris: Strieder is the primary composer and mastermind, but sometimes I lay down a rhythmic idea or drumset phrase that becomes the foundation for a new riff.

Strieder: It usually starts with me writing a song, recording scratch guitars and programming drums. This I send out to all members, and each starts writing and recording their parts. It has become a very streamlined workflow.

Sylvia: well, we are heavily using the internet – sharing ideas, re-inventing stuff, discussing. In the beginning and the end, also in-between, Strieder makes decisions.


I guess it was hard to record "Mind Cemeteries" from so many different places. Technically, how did you manage the production ...? 

Strieder: We work via e-mail and facebook chat, and send big files back and forth. Since everybody plays her/his part her/himself, we don't need to write them down, we just memorize it. Only Chris prefers to notate his drum parts down, typically in Guitar Pro. He's also the only one using a metronome, and both makes sense: He's the pulse of CCV, and we track our guitars and bass onto his final recordings, to build a tight unit onto his natural groove. Nevertheless, having things a bit open until the last moment gives great room for spontaneity. Something I feel many records lack these days.

The final takes are then compiled together by me, for arranging, mixing and mastering. Since I do mixing and mastering for a living, hence having the capabilities, it was natural for me to also create the sound(s) myself.

Chris: I've always been interested in engineering and production. It's something I've been working on for over a decade. Strieder has been a valuable mentor in that department, and I'm fortunate I can continue growing and working on the technical aspects of sound with him (he helped me troubleshoot many recording snags).

Sylvia: I am throwing weird bass lines wherever possible !

Mike: I am set up in my basement to record ...away from the children!

Austin: I yelled at a microphone in my living room and sent the files to Strieder !

Strieder: LOL?


I can't find any credit about the artwork. It seems to be a beautiful allegory of a "Future Eve" rising up and walking through ruins of a desolate world, crossed with Georges Lucas THX 1138 and, of course, with "Gravity" last shots. The survivor of the future?

Austin: Strieder did.

Sylvia: Strieder did.

Strieder: Haha, yes. It's credited in the CD Booklet. The Artwork displays the Iron Empress, which is sung about in the song of the same name, as well as have her say in the Prologue, Interlude and Epilogue. She's also expressed through Sylvia's singing into her double bass recorder (singing and playing at the same time).

But on “Mind Cemeteries”, we showed just one side of her. Her origins and true nature will be the theme of our upcoming EP “Thoughts From A Stone” !


You have created, without a shadow of doubt, a very new sound with Mind Cemeteries. Which of your influences has helped you to develop these sound innovations? 

Strieder: That would be Arnold Schoenberg and the composers of the 2nd Viennese School in general. Their philosophy, as expressed in writings, private mails and so on deeply influenced me. For them, music was an expression of oneself.

Schoenberg said: “Art is the outcry of those who experience the fate of humanity. Those who do not accept it, but look into it. Those who do not blindly operate the engine of 'dark forces', but throw themselves into the spinning wheel to understand its construction.”

Through studying them they tought me to search for my own voice, to express myself. There's a big difference between music you just “like” and music that actually is “you”. There 's no “why” in art, only “because”. Sometimes “because fuck you!” (laughs)

Austin: The raw, trudging dissonant sounds the rest of the group had already been developing were very inspirational to me. Mike and Strieder pushed me in different ways; Spoken word sections, tone requests, matching Mike's sections etc .... By the end of the album, I wasn't even the same vocalist. It became an equally emotionally liberating and technically demanding project.

Mike: Likewise, everyone in this band pushes you to be better, get out of your comfort zone. It's how we grow and it's why this project works on so many levels.

Chris: To name one is nearly an impossible task but an interesting challenge ... Perhaps Virgil Donati. He is a master of utilizing polyrhythms in ways that have a voice of their own. Even though I utilize mathematical concepts to compliment the music, I always think it's important to build upon the base and give each riff a feel of it's own.

Sylvia: And, of course … life itself, all the experienced sounds.


Of course all of you are technicaly fantastic, you play 10 strings guitar like no one else. But I've got the feeling that Chris sounds like the real new paradigm of this new sound. Just an impression?

Chris: Well, I can't say I'm not flattered by your inference! I think this “new sound” is due to Strieder and I having a similar, no-holds barred approach to rhythm as a horizontal landscape (vertical being the harmony, which is certainly just as ambitious). I typically arrange my drums to the riffs Strieder composes, although there are some instances where it is the reverse, which leads to very unique motifs. “The Hollow Gaze” is a pretty awesome example of putting our heads together and bouncing ideas back and forth.

I also have a valuable background in rudimental drumming, which helps me approach the kit using a series of combinations and dynamics, rather than trying to achieve intensity through speed alone. I really felt like this payed off in complimenting Strieder's guitar parts in “Petrified Tears”; consistently switching between subdivisions gave that song a sense of stretching and compression I don't think I've heard too often.

Strieder: This is a concept I called “notated agogics”. Agogic is a term from classical performance practise. It means changing the tempo to emphasize the musical expression. Classical music is a history of theorising and notating things that hundred years before were only oral history. I did the same with agogics; and for Mind Cemeteries, we put this concept into the world of metal.

Austin: Chris stands before time. His thunderous tidal wave of calculated chaos is understood by few gods and even fewer mortals.

Sylvia: … and it's good to know that he is living on a different continent !


The contribution of XelmYa on this album is simply great: prologue, interlude and epilogue. Can we imagine that the future of CCV will be more a fusion between the two entities? 

Austin: “As I walk amongst the sick” is the heaviest track on the album !

Sylvia: Thank you! Hehe, we definitely enjoyed this intense collaboration like hell. Let's wait and see what future holds in her bag ...

Strieder: Yes, we plan some convergences on the upcoming EP, but just because we have the possibilites and the skills to do something doesn't necessary mean we do it (laughs) We don't like to do the obvious or the expected. And there has to be a very strong motivation (justification) to do something. Stay tuned !


You both (Sylvia and Strieder) seem to have an interesting musical background. Could you explain to us how the concept of “dissonance” (which in 19th music, for example, needed a “resolution”), is often obsolete in metal music? 

Strieder: I never agreed with that anyway. In western-european music, we have two consonant chords seen as the pinnacle of human achievements. Everything else is seen as dissonance and as something to spice consonant music up, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Contrary to those two chords, we have unlimited other chords, and they to each other can serve as resolution or (increase of) tension as well or even more.

Other cultures don't create music based on these concepts either. They know them, but it's not interesting for them. For example, the Baganda Musicians in East Africa tune octaves on their instruments at first perfect, but then detune them. They prefer to sharpen other intervals, too. They know the concept, they hear it ... but they decided against it because for them, it's not interesting.

The world is full of musical approaches that are completely differnet to those of the western-european world. None of them is less valid.

I am not interested in conventions of a culture I was accidentally born into – I decide what I want and what I don't want! (laughs)

Sylvia: I do not tend to think in harmonic lines and “antique” ideas of horizontal chord systems and satellisation. If the vertical dissonance is conclusive and forcing, the piece is developing horizontal as well. But it's more the general idea of sound, something also displaying e.g. non-sugary emotions, not about consonance vs. dissonance.

Surprising the listeners, catching them off-guard, giving ideas regarding hope or solace to them, creating a unique place for the soul ... that's more the things we are after.

On the other hand, studying music which was written earlier than today, helps me to always question and adjust my ideas.

Strieder: The best example on the album is again the song “Petrified Tears”: It features the softest as well the hardest dissonances of all songs on the Album. We hear soft dissonances imaging feelings of tenderness, nostalgia and loss and in the middle this all culminates in the most harsh dissonances imaging anger, outrage and complete despair. Under the hood, it's based on very few motifs that you can recognize, in transformations, in each riff.


Do you have any touring plans? Have you ever played together on stage? 

Chris: I would love to play live with this band. The energy and atmosphere would be amazing in a live context ! I would also love to play a drum clinic including CCV material if anyone would have me.

Sylvia: no, not really, who knows ?


Finally, can we expect new material soon? 

Strieder: We are working on the next release already, which will be the mentioned EP “Thoughts From A Stone” We're also already collecting lots of ideas for the next LP, too!


Thank you all and very soon for a second musical chapter that we hope is just as phenomenal as the first!


Author : Pascal
"For me, the biggest slap of the year in extreme metal, the record that has permanently shaken my mind, is Mind Cemeteries by Coma Cluster Void. A metal 3.0 experience: a new band, international (with members from USA, Canada and Germany), and a landmark 'brand new sound'."


Il y a une grande différence entre la musique que l'on aime et la musique qui « est » réellement soi.

Lundi 19 décembre 2016

Vous l'aurez peut-être remarqué, l'année se termine bientôt. Et 2016 restera, à n'en point douter, une cuvée assez exceptionnelle pour l'univers métal (et au-delà). Il y en eut pour tous les goûts, dans tous les styles, et souvent du très, très bon.
En ce qui me concerne, la plus grosse claque de l'année en métal extrême, la plaque qui m'a durablement secoué les méninges, c'est Mind Cemeteries de Coma Cluster Void. Une expérience métal 3.0 : un nouveau groupe, international (avec des membres venant des USA, du Canada et d'Allemagne), et un « brand new sound » qui fera date.
Alors lorsque les membres du groupe acceptent de donner une de leurs premières interviews pour « Shoot Me Again », ça donne ceci...

Bonjour tout le monde ! Avant tout, pourriez-vous nous présenter brièvement le groupe ?

Strieder : Coma Cluster Void c'est Mike DiSalvo et Austin Taylor aux vocaux, Chris Burrows à la batterie, Sylvia Hinz à la basse et moi aux guitares.

Vous êtes impliqués dans d'autres projets musicaux ?

Mike DiSalvo : Moi j'ai un autre projet qui s'appelle Akurion, avec des membres de Neuraxis, Conflux et Cryptopsy (Rob Milley, Tommy McKinnon et Oli Pinard). Le résultat est très technique, « downtuned » mais tout ça se bagarre dans la grande arène du death-métal classique. C'est vraiment du très bon matos !

Strieder : Je suis compositeur et artiste. A côté de ça, je me consacre entièrement à Coma Cluster Void.

Chris Burrows : Moi je suis l'animal qui fracasse les casseroles et les marmites (rires). Jusque là, personne ne m'a demandé d'arrêter, donc je continuerai à faire ça pendant que les autres s'occupent de la vraie musique... A part ça, je fais aussi des trucs rythmiques pour Thoren, groupe métal de Detroit, et des beats electro pour un groupe pop-r&b qui s'appelle Wonderbox.

Sylvia Hinz : A part être une bête de la basse dans Coma Cluster Void, je joue en solo et je dirige mes ensembles XelmYa (impliqué aussi dans Mind Cemeteries) et Umbratono, un projet envoûtant. Je fais aussi de l'improvisation et j'enregistre ma propre musique, comme Windserie. Je travaille enfin dans une logique interdisciplinaire avec d'autres domaines artistiques. En d'autres termes : la domination du monde !

Austin Taylor : Actuellement, j'ai deux autres projets : Dimensionless, du death atmosphérique qui est devenu un groupe studio et un projet « down tempo » qui s'appelle Selfdestructionist.

Comment vous êtes-vous rencontrés pour former CCV ?

Strieder : J'ai toujours été « écartelé » entre la musique classique contemporaine et les formes extrêmes de métal et là, c'était le bon moment pour démarrer ce groupe ! Sylvia et moi avons cherché pendant un moment les bonnes personnes pour le projet : des personnes passionnées, fiables et capables d'enregistrer de chez elles.

Chris : Moi, j'ai connu Strieder par l'intermédiaire d'Anthony Lipari, guitariste de Thoren. Peu de temps après, Sylvia et Strieder m'ont contacté sur Facebook ; résultat, une discussion pleine de memes délirants et, une mission pour créer un chaos discordant et dissonant !

Strieder : Dès le départ, on avait pensé à Mike pour le chant. On n'a pas pu résister à emmener Austin avec...

Mike : Sylvia et Strieder m'ont approché « online », tous les deux en même temps, de manière super chaleureuse, pour me faire entendre leur matos. Évidement, j'ai été scotché par leurs capacités et j'ai plongé dans le bain sans aucune hésitation !

Austin : Quand Dimensionless et Wolcott Falls ont entrepris un EP collaboration entièrement par internet, Strieder a été très motivé pour le produire. C'est à ce moment qu'il m'a demandé de rejoindre Coma Cluster Void.

Qui compose et écrit les morceaux ?

Chris : Strieder est le premier à composer. C'est un peu le maître d’œuvre. Parfois, je tombe sur une bonne idée rythmique ou une phrase de batterie intéressante et ça peut devenir la base d'un nouveau riff.

Strieder : Généralement c'est moi qui écris un titre, enregistre les guitares et programme les drums. Après j'envoie le résultat brut à tous les membres, et chacun commence à écrire ce qui le concerne, sa partie. C'est devenu une méthode de travail très efficace !

Sylvia : Oui, franchement on utilise tous massivement internet – on échange des idées, on réinvente des trucs et on en discute. Au commencement, à la fin, et au milieu aussi, c'est Strieder qui prend les décisions (rires).

Je devine à quel point cela a dû être difficile d'enregistrer « Mind Cemeteries » depuis des endroits aussi éloignés. Techniquement, comment vous êtes-vous organisés pour la production... ?

Strieder : En fait, on travaille par e-mail et Facebook messenger, et les gros fichiers font des allers-retours. Depuis que chacun joue ses parties lui(elle)-même, on n'a plus besoin de tout retranscrire, on mémorise simplement. Seul Chris préfère retranscrire ses parties de drums dans « Guitar Pro ». Il est aussi le seul à utiliser un métronome ; quand on y pense, ça a du sens : il est véritablement la pulsation de Coma Cluster Void et on accorde les guitares et les basses sur ses enregistrements pour créer une étroite unité sur son groove naturel. Néanmoins, avoir les choses un peu « ouvertes » jusqu'au dernier moment laisse une énorme place à la spontanéité. Je trouve que c'est quelque chose qui manque dans beaucoup d'albums de nos jours...
Après, je compile toutes les prises finales, je les arrange, je les mixe et je m'occupe du mastering. Mixer et produire étant vital pour moi, j'ai, par conséquent, développer des capacités dans ces domaines. C'était donc naturel pour moi de créer les sons moi-même.

Chris : J'ai toujours été intéressé par l'ingénierie et la prod. Je travaille là-dedans depuis bientôt dix ans. Strieder m'a énormément apporté dans ces domaines et je suis très heureux de pouvoir continuer à progresser et à travailler sur les aspects techniques des sons avec lui...

Sylvia : Moi je balance des bizarres lignes de basse dès que je peux !

Mike : Planqué dans ma cave pour enregistrer... loin des enfants !

Austin : Dans mon salon, je hurle dans le micro et j'envoie les fichiers à Strieder !

Strieder : lol

Je ne sais pas qui a réalisé l'artwork de l'album. J'y vois une belle allégorie d'une « Eve future » qui se relève et marche à travers les ruines d'un monde désolé. Une cover quelque part entre le THX 1138 de Lucas et les derniers plans du Gravity de Cuaron. La survivante du futur ?

Austin : C'est Strieder...

Sylvia : Oui, Strieder l'a dessiné.

Strieder : Haha, oui. C'est mentionné dans le livret. L'artwork évoque l' « Iron Empress », qui est chantée dans le premier titre du même nom et dont on entend la voix dans le prologue, l'interlude et l'épilogue. Cette « Iron Empress » s'exprime également à travers l'enregistreur de la double basse de Sylvia où elle chante et joue en même temps.
Mais sur Mind Cemeteries, on ne dévoile qu'une seule face de cette impératrice de fer. Ses origines et sa vraie nature seront les thèmes de notre EP à venir, Thoughts From A Stone.

Vous avez, sans l'ombre d'un doute, créé, avec Mind Cemeteries, un son nouveau. Quelle est, parmi toutes vos influences, celle qui vous a le plus aidé à développer ces innovations sonores ?

Strieder : Je dirais Arnold Schoenberg et les compositeurs de la seconde école viennoise en général. Leur philosophie, tant dans leurs compositions que dans leurs écrits ou leurs correspondances, m'a profondément influencé. Pour eux, la musique était une expression de « soi-même ». Schoenberg disait : « L'art est l'indignation de ceux qui expérimentent le destin de l'humanité. Ceux qui ne l'acceptent pas mais l'examinent de près. Ceux qui n'activent pas aveuglément les machines des « forces du mal », mais se projettent eux-mêmes dans leurs rouages pour en comprendre la construction. »
En les étudiant, j'ai appris sur ma propre façon de m'exprimer. Il y a une grande différence entre la musique que l'on aime et la musique qui « est » réellement soi. Il n'y a pas de « pourquoi » en art, seulement des « parce que ». Parfois des « parce que je t'emmerde ! » (rires)

Austin : Les sons bruts et dissonants que le reste du groupe avait déjà développés ont été une grande inspiration pour moi. Mike et Strieder m'ont poussé dans différentes directions : sections de « spoken words », sollicitations au niveau des tonalités, correspondances avec les sections de Mike... Vers la fin de l'album, je n'étais plus le même chanteur !
C'est devenu, à un même niveau, un projet de libération émotionnelle et d'exigence technique.

Mike : Idem pour moi ! Chacun dans ce groupe vous pousse à être meilleur. A sortir de votre zone de confort. C'est comme cela que nous progressons et c'est pourquoi ce projet fonctionne à tant de niveaux.

Chris : Citer une influence est une tâche presqu'impossible et pourtant un challenge intéressant... Je dirais quand même Virgil Donati. Il est passé maître dans l'utilisation des polyrythmies à un point tel que chaque ligne rythmique est une voix en elle-même ; en tant que telle. Bien que j'utilise les concepts mathématiques pour qualifier la musique, j'ai toujours pensé qu'il est important de s'appuyer sur les bases et de donner à chaque riff une sensation de « pour lui-même ».

Sylvia : Et, bien entendu... la vie elle-même et toutes les expériences sonores !

Bien entendu, vous êtes techniquement au top ; Strieder joue de sa 10 cordes comme personne. Mais j'ai pourtant l'impression que la batterie de Chris est le nouveau paradigme de ce « nouveau son ». Juste une impression ?

Chris : Bon, ok, je ne vais pas te dire que je ne suis pas flatté par ta conclusion ! Mais je pense que ce « nouveau son » est dû à Strieder et j'ai la même approche, genre « tous les coups sont permis », en ce qui concerne la rythmique comme paysage horizontal. Généralement, je cale mes drums sur les riffs que Strieder a composés, même s'il y a quelques endroits où c'est renversé, ce qui conduit à des motifs complètement uniques ! Hollow Gaze est l'exemple génial du titre où toutes les idées qu'on a en tête vont dans tous les sens !
J'ai aussi une précieuse expérience des rudiments de la batterie qui m'aide à utiliser mon kit pour trouver des séries de combinaisons, de dynamiques, plutôt que de bêtement essayer de trouver l'intensité dans la vitesse seule. Je crois que c'est payant quand on écoute les parties de guitare de Strieder sur Petrified Tears : les switchs permanents entre les subdivisions donnent à ce titre une impression de compression-dilatation que je ne pense pas avoir entendu souvent.

Strieder : Oui... c'est un concept que j'ai appelé « agogiques notées». Une agogique est un terme qui signifie qu'on change de tempo pour donner de l'emphase à l'expression musicale. La musique classique est une histoire de théorisation et de notation de choses qui, des siècles avant, étaient seulement une histoire orale. J'ai fait la même chose à propos des agogiques et, avec Mind Cemeteries, nous avons amené ce concept dans l'univers du métal.

Austin : Bon... Chris est en avance sur son temps, hein. Son raz-de-marée tonitruant de chaos calculé est compris par très peu de Dieux et encore moins de mortels ! (rires)

Sylvia : ... et c'est bon de savoir qu'il vit sur un autre continent !


La contribution de XelmYa sur cet album est simplement géniale : prologue, interlude et épilogue. Est-ce qu'on peut imaginer que le futur de CCV sera plus une fusion entre les deux entités ?

Austin : Epilogue : As I Walk Amongst The Sick est le titre le plus lourd de l'album !

Sylvia : Merci beaucoup ! Hehe, on a vraiment adoré cette intense collaboration. Attendons de voir ce que le futur va nous apporter...

Strieder : Oui, on a prévu certains rapprochements sur l'EP à venir. Mais avoir la possibilité et la compétence pour faire quelque chose ne signifie pas nécessairement qu'on va le faire... (rires) On n'aime pas faire l'évident ou l'attendu. Il nous faut une fameuse motivation, ou un fameux justificatif pour faire quelque chose. Stay tuned ! (rires)

Vous semblez, les uns et les autres, avoir un background musicologique intéressant. Pourriez-vous nous expliquer en quoi le concept de « dissonance » (qui, dans la musique du 19ème par exemple, devait trouver sa « résolution »), est souvent obsolète dans la musique métal ?

Strieder : Oui, je n'ai jamais adhéré à ça. Dans la musique de l'Europe de l'ouest, nous avons deux accords consonants qui sont considérés comme le pinacle des réalisations de l'homme. Tout le reste est vu comme une dissonance et comme quelque chose qui peut éventuellement pimenter la musique consonante. Mais nous avons une série illimitée d'autres accords qui peuvent se servir entre-eux de résolutions, augmenter la tension et bien plus encore.
Les autres cultures ne créent pas de musique basée sur ces concepts. Ils les connaissent, mais ça ne les intéresse pas. Par exemple, les musiciens Baganda de l'est de l'Afrique accordent parfaitement leurs instruments à l'octave puis... ils les désaccordent. Ils préfèrent avoir d'autres intervalles à leur disposition. Ils connaissent notre concept. Ils l'entendent, mais ça ne les intéresse pas ! Le monde est rempli d'approches musicales totalement différentes de celles de l'Europe de l'ouest. Aucune n'est moins valable que les autres ! Moi en fait, les conventions d'une culture dans laquelle je suis né accidentellement ne m'intéressent pas. Je décide ce que je veux et ce que je ne veux pas... (rires)

Sylvia : Je n'ai pas tendance à penser en lignes harmoniques et en antiques idées de systèmes d'accords horizontaux. Si la dissonance verticale est concluante, la pièce musicale se développe aussi bien horizontalement. Mais en fait, la réflexion tourne plus autour de l'idée générale du son, quelque chose qui ne doit pas donner une émotion « guimauve ». C'est plus ça que consonance vs dissonance.
Surprendre les auditeurs, les prendre au dépourvu, leur donner des idées concernant l'espoir ou le réconfort, créer une place unique pour l'âme... c'est plutôt ça que nous recherchons. D'un autre côté, étudier de la musique écrite « avant » m'aide à me questionner perpétuellement et à ajuster mes idées.

Strieder : Le meilleur exemple sur Mind Cemeteries est une nouvelle fois la chanson Petrified Tears : on y trouve à la fois les plus douces et les plus dures dissonances de tout l'album. Les dissonances « douces » nous inspirent la tendresse, la nostalgie ou la perte ; puis, au milieu, tout ça culmine vers les plus dures dissonances qui inspirent la colère, l'indignation ou le complet désespoir. Derrière ça, c'est basé sur très peu de motifs que vous pouvez reconnaître, transformés, dans chaque riff.

Avez-vous des projets de tournée ? Avez-vous déjà joué ensemble sur scène ?

Chris : J'adorerais jouer en live avec le groupe. L'énergie et l'atmosphère seraient incroyables dans un contexte « live » ! J'aimerais aussi participer à un « drum clinic » qui inclurait des titres de Coma Cluster Void !

Sylvia : Pas de projet de tournée. Mais qui sait ?

Enfin, projet de nouveau matériel ?

Strieder : On travaille déjà sur la prochaine sortie, qui sera un EP, Thoughts From A Stone. On collecte aussi des tas d'idées pour le prochain LP...

Merci à tous et à très bientôt pour un deuxième chapitre musical qu'on espère tout aussi phénoménal que le premier !

AUTEUR : Pascal
Liégeois de naissance, il connaît le Carré comme sa poche; c'est pourtant à Bruxelles qu'il subit le choc primal en assistant au concert de la tournée ''...and justice for all'' de qui vous savez. Depuis, passionné de métal extrême mais aussi de jazz et classique d'avant garde, il continue inlassablement de découvrir des groupes et projets divers qui lui déstabilisent les neurones. Infatigable bouquinocinéphile, son épigramme serait: ''Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards, ni patience'' (René Char). ...