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Comity - "A Long, Eternal Fall" (CD)

Comity - "A Long, Eternal Fall" CD cover image

"A Long, Eternal Fall" track listing:

1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V
6. VI
7. VII

Reviewed by on May 16, 2017

"If you think Dillinger Escape Plan is audio chaos, boy you haven't heard anything yet."

You've probably read more than a few news stories or reviews describing a metal album as “pure chaos distilled into audio form” or something to that effect. In a few cases, it might have even been partially warranted for the more extreme underground bands. Never has it more perfectly applied than here, however, with Comity's “A Long, Eternal Fall.”

This insane journey of sound kicks off with the simply titled “I” and a distorted, intriguing riff bringing to mind hard rock melded with something more sinister and heavy. When the avant-garde hell noise arrives at 1:10, I actually hit “pause” to make sure I didn't accidentally have another YouTube video or music player going in the background. That would be a negative – Comity is just playing two songs at once for some reason for the rest of this track. I kind of love it, although I have to imagine everyone else is probably going to hate it.

Much of “A Long, Eternal Fall” is played with the chaos of grindcore, but without being even remotely a grind band. There's a good deal of black and death metal influence in there, but oddly enough the main contributing sub-genre has got to be hardcore, with “III” in particular exuding that style of sound. On the vocal front, the incredibly harsh and distorted screams are pushed way, way down in the mix, to the point that they are occasionally barely even audible. In other words, bring your headphones to this party.

Listening through these bizarre amalgam tracks, about halfway through the album it strikes me that Comity may be even more nuts than Stagnant Waters, which up until this point had been my baseline for “most soul-destroying collection of harsh noises.” This album will consistently mess with your head, from stalling, error message type sounds to incomprehensible shifting between styles on a dime. In fact if Stagnant Waters decided to go a hardcore direction, I'd swear that's what I was listening to on several of these songs.

“IV” offers up dark, melancholy guitar riffs going a melodic direction alongside the drum and vocal chaos. The combination is really striking and can get to you emotionally, even though this is essentially the epitome of what the average non-metal fan would deem “just absolute fucking noise.” The song then shifts into a bizarro world halfway through, with the chords fraying and breaking apart as they are played with an increasing level of sloppiness until suddenly shifting into a slow moving dirge.

Frequently these huge sound transitions occur after a moment of silence within the songs, so you think the track has switched over, but it hasn't. It's all clearly designed to prevent you from over getting comfortable, and the most disorienting parts of the album are probably when Comity decides to offer a few moments of standard song structures, creating a sense of vertigo as you wait for the bottom to drop out.

Out of nowhere “VI” starts with some sort of nightmarish, blackened rendition of a hillbilly southern stoner metal riff, then halfway through you get a Deathspell Omega vibe. “VII” meanwhile is sort of more like a standard song, only using three or four different styles, taking a plodding death / doom track and barreling forward with it at hyper speed, as though the musicians had never even heard of or considered genre conventions. Then halfway through it goes acoustic Opeth, just because.

If you think Dillinger Escape Plan is audio chaos, boy you haven't heard anything yet. Comity calls itself “extreme rock and roll” and that works as well as any other label that could get thrown at this messy collection of notes. It's certainly less of a mouth full than avant-garde, chaotic, experimental, hardcore blackened who-knows-what-the-hell metal. While I'm not a huge fan of the muted production and I'm still trying to digest some of the more deranged and unhinged segments, I can say without question that this about as unique an album as anyone is ever going to hear.

Highs: This is easily the most deranged, discordant thing I've heard in years

Lows: Probably the same as the highs - I have to imagine most listeners will be baffled by what's going on here, and the messy production doesn't really help

Bottom line: This is pure. sonic. chaos.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)