(Wood and Wire)
Acid King, Earth, Windhand
Since this is a split EP, we are focusing our energy on Coma Wall, but in order to get there we must give a brief history of how the band came to form. Undersmile is a doom sludge band formed in 2009 out of Oxford, England and have released an EP, A Sea of Dead Snakes and their debut album Narwhal in 2012. The band consists of four members: Tom McKibbin on drums, Olly Corona-Brown on bass, Hel Sterne on vocals/lead guitars and Taz Corona-Brown on vocals/guitars. Their style of doom is so sludgy and heavy, it’s like you’re being dragged through the thick mud by horses. The two female vocalists bring a trippy, unique atmosphere to their sound, makes them stand out in the doom-sludge world. Just think a toned-down Acid King meets Electric Wizard or Windhand.
This brings us to Coma Wall; the members of Undersmile formed this side project to play more of a folk, blues, doom. So, the natural next step was to release a split EP with Undermile, which is Wood & Wire, released on Shaman Records. This recording sees a new side to the band - stripped down to just acoustics, percussion and a banjo, revealing a soft, doom-folk style. These three tracks are mesmerizing, wintery and haunting, somewhat reminds us of an acoustic Alice In Chains on downers.
The harmonized vocals of Taz Corona-Brown and Hel Sterne are intriguing and give off a ghostly feel. The fact that each of these songs is over six minutes each leaves room for exploration and puts you in a calming, ethereal state of mind. We find ourselves listening to Coma Wall more frequent, as it’s just so captivating; for example, we believe there actually is a cello or violin in the track "Summer," very nice touch. The instruments are so well placed and the timing of the breakdowns is flawless, giving us an intriguing sound to get lost in. And let’s not forget to mention the albums’ cover art, as it reflects the music perfectly.
Wood and Wire is an unusual release, showcasing the two styles of the same musicians is rare. The music is very robust for both bands. If you’re a fan of the doom/sludge genre or not, definitely give Coma Wall a listen, you may find them refreshing and unique. It will be exciting to follow the careers of these musicians and see if they keep up with the two projects, let’s hope so, as each side of the band is welcome around here. - 3/28/2014
Song breakdown from Wood and Wire:
2. You Are My Death
3. Cutter’s Choice
5. Killer Bob