Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format


As with every other music blog or publication, we at Svbterranean are obligated to give you our silly opinions on what were the top albums of the year. I could list every single release I enjoyed this year, but I am limited on patience and writing ability. So, I was able to narrow it down to a modest 30. These are records that, not limited to just metal and hardcore either, that stuck with me long after the initial listen. Feel free to peruse the list below and tell me how my opinion is bullshit, because I will probably agree with you.

Honorable Mentions:

Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles
Lament Cityscape & Theologian – Soft Tissue
clipping. – Splendor & Misery
Black Table – Obelisk
Zvi – Zvi II: Death Stops Us All
Lake of Violet – The Startling Testimony of Plumb Lines
Touché Amoré – Stage Four

30. Vermin Womb – Decline

29. Solange – A Seat at the Table

28. Piss Vortex  – Future Cancer

27. Something is Waiting – The Something is Waiting Band

26. Spotlights – Tidals

25. Eternal Sleep – The Emptiness Of…

24. Spurn – Comfort in Nothing

23. Dead Register – Fiber

22. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition 

21. Heiress – Made Wrong

20. Virus – Memento Collider

19. Neurosis – Fires Within Fires

18. Wang Wen – Sweet Home, Go!

17. Oaken – King Beast

16. Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid

15. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis

14. Planes Mistaken for Stars – Prey

13. Car Bomb – Meta

12. Phantom Winter – Sundown Pleasures

11. Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries 

10. Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows

9. Sealclubber – Stoical

8. Can’t Swim – Death Deserves a Name

7. Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones

6. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust

5. Reproacher – Nature’s Bastard

4. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation

3. Muscle & Marrow – Love

2. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner

1. Oathbreaker – Rheia



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


As 2016 comes to an end, I remain quite thankful to Islander for allowing me to contribute here over the last few years. I really believe in this site and our mission of sharing more of what’s out there than most other sites. So with that in mind, if anyone about to intake this hasn’t seen my prior year-end lists here at NCS, I try to do something different than most people.

My goal is to bring you a massive alternative list of my favorite lesser known releases of the year. Which means I won’t post a lot of releases that you see on other lists. Not because I didn’t dig a lot of them, but because you already know about them and will be seeing a lot of the same names being repeated elsewhere.

Undoubtedly some of the releases will be ones you’ll know or heard mentioned in passing, but hopefully you’ll find more new bands and music you were unaware of overall. Quotes that appear below the following releases were pulled from my reviews, multi-band articles, and song premieres from music covered here at NCS and my 2016 posts from Metal-Injection. You’ll also find some new mini write-ups for releases I didn’t get a chance to cover anywhere this year, but loved as well.

Life Metal (death metal)

Coma Cluster Void album art

Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries

“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.”

Crator – The Ones Who Create : The Ones Who Destroy
Deviant Process – Paroxysm
Seputus – Man Does Not Give
Azooma – The Act Of Eye
Unfathomable Ruination – Finitude
Virvum – Illuminance
Solinaris – Deranged
Overcliff – Depiction of Intimacy
Dawn of Dementia – Immolation of Avernis
Vipassi – Śūnyatā
Karmacipher – Necroracle
Australis – Spaces Of Hope
Intonate – The Swerve
Spheron – A Clockwork Universe
Dischordia – Thanatopsis
Neurogenic – Ouroboric Stagnation
Auroch – Mute Books
Polyptych – Defying The Metastasis
Caecus – The Funeral Garden
Infinite Density – Recollapse of the Universe
Archaic Decapitator – Light of a Different Sun
Wormhole – Genesis
Burial In The Sky – Persistence of Thought
Proliferation – Rebirth: The Journey Through Soil
Mephistopheles – In Reverence Of Forever
Nightmarer – Chasm
Brain Drill – Boundless Obscenity
Malignancy – Malignant Future
Unflesh – Transcendence To Eternal Obscurity
Brought By Pain – Crafted By Society
Singularity – Void Walker
Sunless – Demo 2016
Koronal – Flicker Away
Equipoise – Birthing Homunculi
Cognizance – Illusory
Divinity – The Immortalist Pt. 2 – Momentum
The Noumenon – Terminus
Enigma – Stars Misaligned
Slave One – Disclosed Dioptric Principles
Conflux Collective – The Inception


Instead of genre breakdowns, and given the impossible task of boiling down the hundreds of albums I reviewed this year down to just 10, I have opted to make 3 to cover our 3 ratings scales and also broke the year into two halves.  This particular list is for albums in the second half of 2016 that went beastmode when it comes to shredding and/or drumming. Be sure to also check out my list for the FIRST half of 2016 and also the lists for Musicianship and Enjoyability coming tomorrow and Friday.


10. Spurn - Comfort In Nothing

9. Virvum - Illuminance

8. Seputus - Man Does Not Give

7. Deathspell Omega - The Synarchy of Molten Bones

6. Allegaeon - Proponent for Sentience

5. Hannes Grossman - The Crypts Of Sleep

4. The Dillinger Escape Plan Dissociation

3. Dendritic Arbor / Infinite Waste - Split

2. Coma Cluster Void - Mind Cemeteries

Coma Cluster Void is a maniacal tech death/math metal collective with members from USA, Canada, and Germany and features Mike Disalvo (Ex- Cryptopsy), 10-string guitar, and mind-breaking drumming. Coma Cluster Void is kind of like Meshuggah meets something like Krallice. Some tracks are mathy groove, others are avant-garde devastation. Ulcerate may be another fair comparison for the the latter.  At times, compositions seem to be held together by the finest silk thread. Normally I start to get put off when things get so technical as to abandon any level of convention, but Coma Cluster Void manages to creep right up to that precipice without ever quite diving over the edge. A wonderful surprise this year, and the gift that keeps on giving.

1. Ulcerate - Shrines of Paralysis