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Effloresce - Coma Ghosts
CD Reviews
Written by Doctor T.   
Tuesday, 07 February 2012
Effloresce CD Review
Coma Ghosts
Effloresce - Coma Ghosts

CD Info
2012
 Generation Prog Records
6 Tracks
English Lyrics

 

 

First thing to point out here is that this is a FULL CD, not an EP. I know it’s only 6 tracks, but they tend to be long ones. The final one is nearly 17 minutes in length. And the music is, well, it’s almost psychopathological in nature. We get some of the best metal, with one of the best vocals I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to, doing some of the darkest, most gut wrenchingly haunting sounds you ever heard for the first three tracks. Then we get a short instrumental, followed by an almost soothing, melodic track, followed by another track that takes us to the depths of hell. Now, I need to clarify that vocal thing. Our vocalist, Miss Nicki, is a bit of a two headed monster, and I say that in the best interpretation of the term. She has a truly lovely voice, classically oriented, for most of the time. But, in an instant, she can go to a snarling, screeching death vocal that is as good as anything I’ve ever heard. For me, the highlight of an already top notch product. It’s a little hard to classify a female death vocalist, there just aren’t a lot of them out there. Of course, Cadaveria is generally considered on a short list of the top performers in this category, but Nicki doesn’t really sound at all like the Italian. If I had to compare her to someone it would be Morton Veland, from the early Sirenia productions which were, in my mind, classics, mostly for his screaming vocals. And Nicki has a very similar approach, not exact, but in that direction. Absolutely the highlight of the work, but certainly not the only reason for listening to Coma Ghosts. There are a lot of reasons.

Interestingly enough, it’s not just the music that takes a somewhat psychotic approach, it’s also the lyrics. In one verse we can be describing death and destruction, pain and loss in the most exacting terms. And, in a flash, we can move to relatively lovely passages that warm the heart and soothe the savage beast. I’d love to do a shrink session with the lovely German lass, since she wrote all the lyrics. She clearly has some interesting thoughts going on in that lovely head.

The work begins with Crib, which introduces us to that harder direction, but not right away. We begin with a haunting, keyboard section, right out of a dark Southern Gothic tale from someplace in 19th century Mississippi, or, in this case, Bavaria maybe, although I’m not entirely familiar with how they do religion there. But, we move directly to the metal and the vocals which start metal like, even some nice layering. Nicki has a fine range, nice classically oriented tones that flow over a crunching guitar and some fine keyboard delivered symphonic, delivered by Dave Mola who happens to be her boyfriend. The music seems to move deeper and deeper into the morass of darkness as we move forward. The guitars are used to accomplish this directional shift, but the lyrics play with our reality, taking us one way, then in an opposite direction, again, that psychotic shift that seems to be the basis for Coma Ghosts:

Night seems so quiet, seems so pretty and enviable
Nothing to fear, nothing bad, just breathing the dead air

However, it’s the second track, Spectre Pt. I, Zorya’s Dawn where we get to the true strength of the material, not that the first track wasn’t satisfying. Spectre is a 10 and a half minute opus, and here we get it all. By the way, Zorya is a figure in Russian mythology... one of a trio, responsible for sunrise, daylight and sunset. The track begins with a pulsing guitar, some background drumming and a bit of a screeching sound that builds momentum leading to the vocals. Here, Nicki begins again with a sound similar to the previous track, nice, classically oriented, actually quite lovely, if in a sinister sort of way. Lyrically, we hear:

I hear something in the air / it crawls into our life
I don’t see it but it’s there / whatever happened in this night
It’s something we can’t deny / invisible for the whole mankind

The music then moves to a wordless vocal, a haunting sound that prepares us, as much as anything can for what is to follow. For Nicki’s beautiful voice then morphs into a scream from hell, as black a sound as I have ever heard, torn from the depths:

Don’t try to hide / you can’t deny / don’t lie to me
Tell me now. . . NOW

The track has some interesting interludes, Nicki, it seems, is an accomplished musician herself, apart from the devastating vocals. She brings a flute to augment one section, again, a Ying and Yang movement from the Beauty to the Beast. But, it’s that Beast that defines the work, you have to hear it to understand.

The third selection, Pavement Canvas, provides an even more in depth voyage to the darkness that Effloresce has prepared for us. Again, not a short voyage, this one some 9 minutes, again with individual sections that seem to roam the canvas of this art with disturbing side ventures to various musical hells:

On the floor, corpses, lie in the blood / eyes wide open, no brightness inside
Silence forever, beauty I’ve created / to save their souls they have to sleep

And at this point, we enter into a dialog, the Beauty with the Beast, the lovely with the darkness, one following the next:

Run to paradise {The Beast}
Endure your sentence {The Beauty}
Stop at nothing {The Beast}
Think about sins you’ve done {The Beauty}
Remove all enemies {The Beast}
Show regret to your victims {The Beauty}
Pityless to everyone {The Beast}
Free your mind {The Beauty}

Absolute classic.

What follows almost sounds like an intermission. The fourth track is that instrumental I mentioned, a short one, the only short selection on the CD. And it’s followed by another track that seems inclined to give us time to catch our breath. It’s called Swimming Through Deserts and although there is a dark perspective to the track lyrically, musically it’s relatively calm, almost like swimming through a desert, to coin a phrase. Again, not a short selection, but one that belies the overall sound and feel of most of the CD.

But, that brings us to the final selection, the monster of the release, all 16 and a half minutes of it. Shuteye Wanderer talks about pain, truckloads of it, a clearance sale on agony. And it gets right to the point with brutal sounds that warn us the journey won’t be pretty. We get some of the best instrumental work here too, some solid guitars that augment that emotion that confronts our idealism. Nicki does some beautiful work, but it again conflicts with the message. The song gives us the full arsenal of Effloresce, the frightening, the beautiful, the metal and, again, some of that really nice flute work. And the death vocals again intertwine the message from multiple directions, positioned again against the beautiful, Beauty and the Beast. Interestingly enough, the graphic in the booklet for this track shows a blinded soul, almost a poster for the tortured in civilization’s most recent forays into enlightened interpersonal communication, an interesting interpretation to the song. But, for those 16 plus minutes, we’re exposed to a musical journey that takes us to more places than an international airline. And, with a variety of sounds that seem to be impossible to catalog. But, it’s a fun ride, great music, great vocals, and a feeling that we’ve just heard something profound. You damn sure didn’t waste your time.

Coma Ghosts is a first release, a first full release, and a good one. It’s different enough to separate itself from most of what’s out there, and it’s good enough to make sure you remember it. Just make sure you have your therapist’s number close by. You just might need it, and he might like the music too. A perfect conclusion.

9.5 /10

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