Merzbow - Coma Berenices [Vivo Records - 2007]Coma Berenices finds Merzbow mining father into rock like elements to make an album that takes in a droning rock like air, that’s heavy with a doomy and sleek blackness, making the simple white on black cover seem very apt indeed.
I guess the closet comparison in his vast discography would be 2002 Merzzow, as each track here is based around a looped/ repetitive guitar element and are on the fairly short side for his work around the eight to ten minute mark each, but where Merzzow did drag in places and felt a bit too clean in the production states. Coma Berenices is a lumbering beast of an album, mixed nice 'n' grimy and lo-fi. The tracks main riffs are merged very nicely with improvised guitar and noise soloing elements, so it has a satisfying fog like feel to it, The melodies and riffs he’s chosen here are very darkly atmospheric. The opener Earth worms feels like Popol Vuh’s soaring melancholy soundtrack to Aguirre feed through loads of distortion and feedback, giving a great grim cinematic start to the album. Later on we have Alishan which starts with a fine throbbing doomy psychedelic rock riff, and slowly becomes more overfeed and swirled by layers of guitar improvisation and atmospheric noise guitar.
This really is some of his best more approachable work- as it still mangers to be inventive and varied, the tracks always keep you interested. I can very much see this been enjoy way beyond the noise scene to those who like drone rock, Doomy soundtracks and black as pitch rock music.Roger Batty