Released on: 27 May 2011
They’re from: Silver Spring, Maryland
Sounds like: The dirty, destructive, but delicate love song that you would write for a black hole.
Hear it: http://bit.ly/voyageincoma
While creepily stalking Sinatra’s Facebook wall the other day, one of their members ticked off several bands for the organizer of a compilation disc. He was in the market for bands in the same vein as Sinatra, and wouldn’t you know it, so was I. I found myself instantly enamored with Montpellier., whose upcoming EP I’ll be reviewing for Decoy Music, and Voyage in Coma, whose sound has imported and masterfully incorporated the vintage sounds of classic European screamo.
The run-down on Voyage in Coma’s sound? Let’s just say I like my music like I like my women: dark, powerful, and schizophrenic, and Voyage in Coma are marriage material. I hear hints of Liturgy, Alcest, Celeste and even Thrice in opening tracks “Predator” and “The Ethanol Bomb,” which pulse with an insidious energy and a discordant, oppressive heaviness. Voyage in Coma have this remarkably expansive sound, firmly rooted in post-hardcore and screamo, that branches out into post-rock and black metal. For as unremitting as the first two tracks are, “Nervosa” introduces a soft spoken word section, but before it can really sink in, a wall of violence as sound shatters the tenuous placidity. It’s a beautiful thing.
One of my favorite things about You Appear Alongside Me is the sense of continuous expansion. Each track is longer than the next. Whereas the first three songs burned out bright, the next two tracks clock in at over 5 minutes, while the final track passes the 8-minute mark. “Waiting in the Wings,” instead of decimating the ambience, as in “Nervosa,” builds upon it, intertwining a bone-jarring vocal delivery with waves of tremolo and churning bass. “The Valleys Fill with Lavender” is a veritable genre odyssey, and if you didn’t get the Liturgy comparison, listen to the last 40 seconds. Obscene heaviness.
The opening of the final track “Fissure” is straight-up Mono: powerful, driving ambience with gravitas. “Fissure” is a patient track, constantly building in intensity and anticipation. It peaks only briefly before going quiet again. Then the slow plodding intensifies. Bass enters. Measured notes. Patient. Quiet. Lulling. And then the inevitable crescendo explodes in a soul-crushing, throat-stripping light show of shrapnel vocals and Richter-tipping instrumentation. And it is dense, and black, and heavy, like a dying star. For me, “Fissure” rivals ISIS in their prime.
I can’t recommend You Appear Alongside Me highly enough. If you’re even just a tepid fan of post-hardcore, 5 dollars for a half hour of great music is a steal. On their new EP, Voyage in Coma have progressed an amazing degree from Cartography, and I can’t wait to see where they go from here.