Reviews (Mind Cemeteries)

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There's a lot to be said for being both a raging metalhead as well as a "sound consumer" wrapped in one entity as a music fan, being that a consumer of sound is how I rationalize the side of me that ravenously devours outside aural portraits that take the listener to places in visitation that they don't usually dwell, nor embody much about that individual's personality outside of the visitational listening session. Combine those two mindsets, and the side of me that loves harsh noise, found-sound collages, power electronics, and even styles I'd get ridiculed for if I cared to be around other humans enough to get much criticism face-to face; like vaporwave, for instance (a collage-esque form of dubbery and warpism that so many love, but an equal or larger number despise...and a style that has NOTHING to do with this band aside from weirdness), and you get the formulaic basis for what makes this tech-strosity work so well for me . We've got metal, and we have tightly knitted intricacies making a solid blanket of brutality. Well, that, and the fact that your average "tech death" of today makes me yawn and roll my eyes with its gloss, wankery, and trend-following formulas. You won't find that stuff on Mind Cemeteries.

To begin, I'm one of those unpopular-minded critics that highly enjoyed Mike DiSalvo in Cryptopsy. What he lacked in beastly, inhuman, maniacal sickness as compared to Lord Worm, he made up for in a more restrained, methodical, and percussive precision; binding the chaos in ways that wouldn't have seemed as calculated and progressive with a more traditional death metal timbre. His "possessed huge wrestler" vocals, as I've been known to describe them, are a perfect fit for something as seemingly formless as this album. And some find it surprising that I value his somewhat hardcore delivery (I'm talking muscular, REAL hardcore malls involved, thank you very fucking much) as so extraordinarily appealing. But put atop otherwise death-steeped compositions, as well as usually beginning, ending, or backing up his grunted lines with formidably beastly growls that show ability equal to most more traditional death metal vocalists, the man is a living exercise in both restraint and tantrum. His presence here - next to the higher, more scream-based 2nd vocalist, Austin Taylor - is a sort of sentient glue to the crazed concoction. And this album is a completely scattered, disjointed, and initially offputting experience, that is...unless you're the kind of person that can immerse yourself in discomfort and alienation, as I described that particular side of myself in the beginning of this review. And the irony is that I turn to overwhelming storms of mania for comfort, as it drowns out reality and its usually cruel rationalizations. My particular rationale in this case told me, "You actively subject yourself to harsh LITERAL noise for desensitiztion and disorientation quite often. Loudly. In headphones. And you like it. Surely you can listen to a BAND, basically playing a form of metal, that performs controlled chaos that might nod at being as disheartening." And these guys can's obvious, even if it sounds like a trainwreck to someone just skimming the surface.

Now, the undeniable truth here is an absolute one. It's absolutely stunning and bewildering that these compositions are practiced in tandem between a number of seperate musicians. The individual minds behind this stuff are extraordinary for being able to comprehend this material on an insider level. Granted, that doesn't mean that stringing together tons of instrumental acrobatics makes for quality songwriting. But I'm not looking for a jingle to get stuck in my head when I approach extreme metal, especially the kind that's predetermined to be so chaotic. This is metal for the sake of sound. And moreso, as anybody that's read nearly anything subjective by me knows, VIBE is what makes or breaks a certain piece of music for me. It's in that way the songwriting is a success here. And my disturbed, conflicted mind finds a sort of vicarious venting, a kind of intellectual seizure,..a goddamn bleedout from the sheer vibe of this monolithic mass of extra-terrestrial death-based, prog/tech grandeur. And do not let all this talk of bewilderment and acrobatics give the impression that I don't understand nor enjoy this work on a more traditional level. I very much do. But it's awareness of the nature of this monster that has me speaking about its dizzying disposition.

So, I've established that Mind Cemeteries scratches two itches for me. One is the side of me that loves me some gargantuan extreme metal. The other side is the pure atmosphere sponge that I can be. No, there's not much to hold on to as you tumble down this mountain, but it's not your mountain. This sick Frankenstein's Monster is the child of the musicians involved. And music it is, even if the sane side of yourself wants to insist in the forefront of your mind that it can't be; as it's too convoluted and jagged. But you know, from at least whatever bit of fanatical education regarding metal you possess, that there does happen to be a highly skilled batch of extremity to be found here. Then you try some more, find some foothold, slip again, and begin the process over. It's the ride Coma Cluster Void created for those willing to strap in for the duration. You don't have to know exactly where they are on their 10 strings and timings and modes. It's okay to throw your hands up, scream, and trick yourself into thinking you won't live through it. But you will live. And somewhere in the back of your mind, just as you did when you were a kid and things damaged your everyday perception, you'll be thinking about the experience. And, if you're anywhere near as demented as these musicians, or as myself as a listener, you'll wanna keep going on that ride. The reasoning might be because you are just satisfying that instinct to look at the roadside accident that you know will nauseate you - as you are human, afterall. The conflict within you might be because you want to try and understand the hype that hasn't quite hit you. Or you might be a sadomasochist. It could be many things, or maybe all those theories at once. But one thing's for damn sure - this album messed with you, screwed up your mind, killed something you thought you had down. And so, suddenly, the title makes more sense.