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Comity - The Journey Is Over Now CD (album) cover

THE JOURNEY IS OVER NOW

Comity

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.93 | 4 ratings

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VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars First things first. Despite this album's classification as "Experimental/Post Metal," I would say that this is extreme metal through and through. There really aren't any shoe-gazy atmospheres that one could find on many albums classified as Post-Metal, and there's not a single clean vocal to be found on the entire album. This music is knotty, technical, and as heavy in places as anything I've ever heard. Even so, this is a great album that has a lot to reveal to the listener if they're willing to give it a chance and listen with an open mind.

"Part I" begins with some distorted guitar tones, over which some harsh vocals are added. This part of the track is really just an introduction, however, as an extremely complex riff soon enters, with an equally complex vocal part over it. This section of the track definitely has an extreme "math-metal" feel to it, but unlike a lot of music in the genre it doesn't feel like the musicians are being technical just for technicality's sake. The next motif used in the song sounds a bit (just a tiny bit) like Opeth, but with the speed and intensity cranked up to 11. At about 4 and a half minutes in there's a brief reprieve, featuring some more atmospheric sounds and less distorted guitar; however, it doesn't last long. The racing riffs return, and like the rest of the song this sections sounds simultaneously incredibly technical as well as totally organic. This is followed by a slightly simpler section (though that's not saying much) that makes use of more classic-sounding doom metal riffs rather than the impossibly to count math-metal rhythms. "Part I" is a great opener that really shows the band can write as well as play; in my past experience I've found this kind of extreme, technical metal hard to get into, but this almost 12 minute track never seems tedious and never feels like it's stalling.

"Part II" begins much the same way "Part I" ended, with crushingly complex riffs and multilayered vocal parts. The use of multiple vocalists is really highlighted here, something that is, to my ears at least, very unique, as I've never heard another extreme metal band that uses "harmonies" of sorts with their harsh vocals. The first five and a half minutes are an onslaught, with the band playing full tilt with basically no breaks in the intensity. The last three minutes slow it down a little bit, but even the slower motifs have a kind of crazed intensity to them, as if every musician is trying as hard as they can to get every last shred of sound from their instruments. I can only imagine based on the final product that playing this music must have been exhausting.

Lest you begin to think that the group is a one-trick pony, however, "Part III" departs radically from this lightning-fast, aggressive sound in favor of a much more laid back tone. In place of the chugging riffs are delicate acoustic guitar parts carefully arranged over the faint rumblings of distortion in the backing track. You might think this drastic change of pace would be jarring, but in the context of the album it works perfectly. When minimal percussion is added midway through, it's a great contrast to the insane polyrhythms (polymeter? I can never remember the difference) that dominated the previous two parts. When the distorted guitars come in, they're used in a wholly different capacity, serving as a tension building texture behind the acoustics rather than as the primary instrument. "Part III" is an absolutely stellar track that shows the group really knows how to put a complete piece of music together.

But fear not, avid metal-heads. "Part III" was a grand piece of music in its own right, but it's also the buildup to the climax of the album, the monstrous, 22 minute "Part IV." Beginning with a gothic sounding introductory section, the song advances into a wonderful culmination of all the musical ideas that have been present on the album thus far. The riffs rise to a new level of obtuse complexity, all the while managing to avoid coming off as pointlessly technical, which is quite astounding given how technical they actually are. These are masterfully intertwined with slower, doom-sounding sections and even some brief moments that almost (but only almost) have a dark-ambient feel. "Part IV" is one of those rare metal tracks that manages to take all its harshness and bone-crushing heaviness and reveal from it (at least to those who are willing to hear) a kind of dark, desolate, blasted beauty. This is especially true around the 14 minute point, where the metal tapers off and gives way to a section reminiscent of "Part III." Unlike the fully instrumental "Part III," however, this section features harsh vocals. The juxtaposition of the rather serene instrumental with the growls creates a very unique atmosphere, evoking emotions of loss and loneliness. The vocals, which so often come off as angry given their delivery style, here take on a kind of brokenness, making the harsh delivery come off not as angry but as wounded and sensitive. It's a brilliant, brilliant use of texturing and imbues an unbelievable amount of emotion into a vocal style that does not easily lend itself to tender feelings.

This is the 55th album I've reviewed for PA and to be honest, none of the past 54 were as hard to write about as this one was. This is extremely dense, extremely challenging music, and as such it's very hard to describe. Despite this difficulty, though, I have to say that this is one of the most impressive metal albums I've heard in a good long time, and while it took me several listens to even begin to absorb, it's a very rewarding listen if you give it time. It's certainly not for everyone, though; with its dense, knotty riffs and total lack of clean vocals, this is the very definition of extreme metal, even though it's not technically classified as such. It's a lot to absorb, and people who don't like extreme metal will probably find very little crossover appeal here, "Part III" notwithstanding. That said, I would highly recommend this to anyone who's willing to go a bit out of their comfort zone, as it really is a fantastic creation.

4/5

VanVanVan | 4/5 |

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