For nearly two decades now, Comatose Music have been representing the ugliest, most brutal side of extreme metal. Since they first released Infesting The Exhumed in 2002 – the first full length from North Carolina brutes Lust Of Decay – they have disinterred more than one hundred of the world’s most obscene death metal records. This US label is truly gore to the core. We reached out to label progenitor Steve Green to find out what gets his posthumous juices flowing.
“I am an avid and long time fan of metal music, most preferably death metal. I am also the guitarist for the death metal bands, Purulent Necrosis, Lust of Decay & Atrocious Abnormality (also vocals). But I guess I’m known more for Comatose Music. It’s a record label and online store that I started back in late 2001 that focuses on death metal, thrash metal, black metal and grind music.”
“For me, death metal is the ultimate, and certainly most brutal form of all metal sub-genres. I think death metal should be extremely heavy of course. But in addition, death metal is typically much more offensive both lyrically and visually (artwork). For me personally, death metal must have very harsh vocals, preferably guttural. It definitely requires blast beats and a lot of double bass from the drummer. And just some punishing guitar riffs. In my opinion, that’s what separates death metal from the “heavy” stuff.”
The first of our cherry picked releases is a fairly solid take on death metal. There are a few slaloms along the way, but for the main, this is a relentless march of reliable riffs, powered by pummelling double bass drumming. The mix seems to have been run just into the red right through, giving Aberrant Calamity an explosive, oppressive feel. It might be a little chaotic, but the sensation of being pinned down by aural artillery is very fitting. Cutting through it, though, the tasty dischords and tempo flips of I’m Jonah, Sacrifice Me take that track right to the top of the bloody pile for me.
This is, of course, only our opinion. As for Green’s take on the band: “(They are) an awesome traditional style death metal band from Argentina, I feel a little underrated too. They’ve been around since the mid 90’s and just released their most recent album ‘Aberrant Calamity’ earlier this year. In my opinion it’s their best album during their entire existence, it’s so incredible! Fans of Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal and Immolation would really enjoy Prion.“
It’s this passion for the genre that has seen him fight for the interests of some truly obscene heavy bands, many of whom could be considered likewise overlooked. But what really grabs his attention?
“It could be a number of things that would spark my interest in a band, but since I am a guitarist, I tend to really gravitate towards bands that have killer riffs. Especially semi-technical riffing, I really love that style of playing. Relentless drumming with lots of blasting also grabs my attention.“
Of course, the is no shortage of such examples within the Comatose roster.
“(Depraved Murder) is pure Indonesian brutal death metal. Nasty guttural vocals, bone crushing riffs and a merciless drum assault from start to finish. Their new album ‘Manifestation’ was just released and it is very impressive. Certainly in the vein of bands like Disgorge (US), Devangelic and Gorgasm.”
Coming in immediately more percussive than Prion, Depraved Murder fall far more within the bounds of slam, a sub-genre of DM which seems to be snowballing in popularity. Manifestation emerges as less murderous, organic, bone-crunching slaughter, and more chaos-forged, maniacal stamping press. Imagine the evil spirit of Stephen King’s Christine took over the factory instead of the car. Then bought a 7-string and drum triggers. It’s punctuated. It’s tight. It can give you thicker neck just by listening to it.
Through all the trials and tribulations that recent changes have foisted upon labels since the turn of the century, It seems like it must take a huge spirit to keep something like this alive for what is now nearly two decades. The temptation to give in must have had its moments.
“Wow, it’s hard to believe that Comatose Music is nearly twenty years old! But no, I don’t see myself giving up on the label. There’s been some rough times through the years and I certainly get discouraged and frustrated at times. But I see myself operating Comatose Music for many more years to come. It’s just in my blood and my dedication to the label and the artists is undying.”
What of the bands, though? What does a label bring to their progression now?
“I think the biggest benefits for a band signing to a label is product and promotion. Most labels can provide nice professional merchandise (CDs, shirts, stickers, etc.). But I feel the bigger and better labels will work hard to push and promote the albums they release. I think the most important thing a label can do is provide the band with as much exposure and distribution as possible.”
The final release of the three we’ve chosen to focus on is Body Harvest‘s second full-length, Parasitic Slavery. While seemingly unconnected to the two albums above, it incorporates the best of both; a remorseless barrage and crushing inhumanity. Dabbling in the playbook of thrash brings out some refreshingly bright lead work – and some pitch-shifted guitar screeches. In fact, the whole recording sits on higher frequencies, proving there’s more to being extreme than loads of low end. This is possibly the least accessible of the three, but it’s also my personal favourite.
“(This is) a very talented death metal band from the UK; top shelf talent in my opinion. Their new album, Parasitic Slavery, was released not long ago. Kind of a sci-fi themed album, packed full of insane riffing and superior drum work. Very well written and structured songs that will appeal to a wide range of death metal fans. I’d say anyone into Nile and Krisiun would really be entertained by Body Harvest.“
It certainly seems like there’s a bright and bloody future ahead for Comatose Music. The three releases above are just a small selection, and Green enthuses about the monstrosities on the horizon.
“(We) Already have some great albums released for 2019, with more to come! I must say I’m very excited for the upcoming album of my band, Purulent Necrosis, that should be out this Summer. The new Horrific Demise will finally be released this year. Really looking forward to the new NecroticGoreBeast debut that’s coming out this Fall. The new Strappado coming this year should be a bruiser too. Plus a surprise release or two isn’t out of the question!“
It sounds like there’s plenty meat for extreme music fans to get their teeth into over there. If any of you are feeling enthused about getting involved on either side of something similar, Steve has the following closing words of advice:
“Just stay focused and true! Dedication and passion for death metal is the key to success. It’s not going to come easy, it requires endless effort. But it can all be very rewarding to those who have the drive and patience to succeed!“
There you have it! Check out all the releases from Comatose Music over at their website: comatosemusic.com
Words: Slow Dragon