Comity – The Journey is Over Now

I was going to make a point, but then I realized it was better made by Emerson, so I’ll quote him instead:

“We are like children who repeat by rote the sentences of grandames and tutors, and, as they grow older, of the men of talents and character they chance to see—painfully recollecting the exact words they spoke; afterwards, when they come into the point of view which those had who uttered these sayings, they understand them and are willing to let the words go.”

I feel there is no good reason for most repetition in music. The same song could have been written in several billion slightly different ways. The genius of Comity’s The Journey is Over Now is that, in one listen, you seem to be hearing each of those billion different ways at the same time. They can pull apart their own songs from as many different directions as there are neurons. This shakes off the incidental, and keeps the feeling raw and honest. They throw everything they can at you: sometimes it’s a sharp, banjo-clang distortion with pinpoint, Dillinger Escape Plan style starts and stops. Sometimes it’s sand-in-the-gears slowdowns that yield to withdrawn acoustic passages. Throughout everything, there’s a vaguely familiar Coalesce-style metalcore feeling, especially in Part II.

But Part I (yes, that’s its title) does it best, starting with feedback and layers of deep groans which remind me of the vocals from Neurosis’ Falling Unknown. When it gets going, it’s like several different perspectives on the same rhythm being presented simultaneously, the musicians equivalent of a cubist painting. The best part, about 4:40 in, is how the song awakes from its acoustic melancholy with what feels like triumphant emergence from wreckage. The way the melody maintains a sense of soaring triumph, over wide stretch of time, without having repeated any particular rhythm, the way it gets refreshed from different angles, before tumbling into chaos, then into spacious sludge then layerd over with guitar tone transpositions that wander in and out of key is something to behold.

Part III is a bit of a more straightforward instrumental track, with dualing acoustic and electric instrumentation that steadily escalates in intensity. A post-rock band might make something like this the centerpiece of their album, but for Comity it feels almost like filler. Part IV is the 22 minute behemoth that ends the album. It’s much like Part II before descending into what sounds like a sludge merry-go-round, and ending with layered screams similar to Part I.

Despite being wonderfully ridiculous with structural experimentation, Comity sports a sound that’s probably familiar to anyone who has listened to technically precise genres of metal featuring a -core suffix. What’s truly original is their ability to simultaneously maintain senses of chaos and continuity, with just enough distance between the two that your brain is joyfully engrossed in the task of resolving the one to the other.

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