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Comatose - A Way Back

Label: Transcending Records
Format: Download
Released: 2021
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/10

Comatose is half Shoegaze, half Metal, all Heavy. Their 2021 debut, “A Way Back” is dark, thoughtful, aerial, melodic, and as fuzzy as a wool duster. Their influences would appear to be Hum, Swervedriver, My Diligence, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Smile, Saigon Kick, Lush, Lo-Pan, Helmet, Torche, and maybe a bit of mid-period In Flames.


With the one-word song titles, sensitive vocals, the power chord cadences, and the cymbal-crashing drums, this sounds like something out of the ‘90s (which I think is when these guys were all born). The vocals are mostly gentle and harmonized, but there are occasional forays into raw-voiced Hardcore shouts, like on “Inside” and “Further.” It’s a very young-sounding album, but “young-sounding” does not automatically equal “immature.” There’s a great deal of intelligence and depth at work in these songs.
All 8 songs are eminently listenable, but the run from tracks 2 through 4, “Gone,” “Aone,” and “Skin,” respectively, is excellent. Makes for an excellent album side. . . which. . . is probably a lost reference for most people born in the 90s. . . “Gone” is the instant classic, top highlight of the album. It builds perfectly, keeping the listener leaning forward in anticipation of what’s coming next. With a name like Comatose, you expect hard AF Death Metal - - with a band logo in an unreadable blood spatter font - - not a Shoegazey Metal outfit, but things are weird here in the future. I like this album and expect to revisit the best tracks frequently.

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