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Coma: Excess

Confused. That's the word. Confused.

Excess is the debut album from Polish sextet Coma (although this album was released a while back in Poland with lyrics in the band's native language) and as you'll gather, it has left me rather, well.....confused.

Things start off straight forward enough and in fact I'd go as far as to call the title (and first) track on this album brilliant. I kid you not, the latter day Peter Gabriel mix of layered beats and simple guitars slowly builds into a gently progressive masterpiece of the highest order. The keys embellish without becoming overbearing and the vocals of Peter "Raw Goose" Rogucki, whilst slightly and rather endearingly accented, hit the right blend of considered swagger and riotously raw explosion and as the song builds into a frenzied high octane riff, it is impressive how the metamorphosis from prog to metal happened without any fanfare whatsoever.

Then the rollercoaster ride begins!

Rogucki hits full scream for "Transfusion", which is reinforced with thumping bass, shouty backing vocals, and a solid, thick slab of guitar that would make Machine Head sit up and take notice. After the Gabriel-esque opener, it is a genuine shock to the system, they do it reasonably well, but already I'm wondering exactly who this album is aimed at. We are not done yet though, with "Poisonous Plants" paying homage to all things Pearl Jam. Suddenly the vocals are carbon copy Vedder and the mixture of so-so riffing and laid back guitar pings and snare rim clicks, plants you firmly into the sort of thing that Pearl Jam have been boring us rigid with for years. Unfortunately, this is a theme that recurs all too frequently, with "F.T.M.O.", "Eckhart" and "Afternoons In The Colour Of Yellow" all allowing us to play "spot the grunge song".

In between that, there are some chinks of light, "Confusion" has another great wallop of guitars, while "Silence And Fire" is the best example of Coma slowing things down, without becoming an all too unwelcome cliché. However any good work, is completely undone by the drivel of "F.T.P." (this band really like acronyms, we also get "T.B.T.R."!) which stands for f**k the police, which is a line that is squealed over and over in between what seems to be a strange love song. The end result is the most wishy of washy rock-rap crossovers that you'll ever be unlucky enough to hear.

So there we have it. One of the best songs I've heard this year, one of the worst and a mish-mash of styles that doesn't know if it is coming or going most of the times. Actually the most disappointing thing is that there is a good record buried deep in here somewhere, but for Coma to discover it, they will need to dig long and hard to find their own identity, as well as employ a far stricter quality control (or find a producer who can). Cutting thirty minutes from this album's near seventy five minute running time would have been a good start.

Track Listing
01. Excess
02. Transfusion
03. Poisonous Plants
04. Confusion
05. T.B.T.R.
06. Struggle
07. Afternoons In The Colour Of Lemo
08. Witnesses Of The Decline Of The Eternal Boys Land
09. Silence And Fire
10. Eckhart
11. F.T.P.
12. F.T.M.O.

Added: November 29th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Coma MySpace
Hits: 2955
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Coma: Excess
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-11-29 18:58:30
My Score:

Despite the fact that Excess is stylistically all over the place, there's something utterly addicting about many of the songs that Polish band Coma have created here. Whether it be the blistering, crunchy nu/extreme metal attack of "Transfusion", the proggy/indie/ambient "Excess", or the boatload of dark & serious Pearl Jam-isms like "T.B.T.R." , "Poisonous Plants" (quite frankly, Eddie Vedder and Co. haven't sounded this good in over a decade), this band knows how to put together some musical magic.

Problem is, there's way too much material here, and at times it sounds like a different band from track to track. "Afternoons in the Color of Yellow" is a wonderful little psychedelic pop track, yet this tune seemingly doesn't fit amidst the mid-90's styled grunge angst and wild, aggressive metal laden numbers that surround it. The great thing is, there's a seriously adventurous band here, as evident by the lengthy, experimental rock/metal/prog tracks like "Silence and Fire" and "Eckhart", each containing plenty of intricate & quite jangly guitar licks, sinewy bass lines, layers of synths, and tight drum fills. The lead vocals of Peter Roguki are very strong, even though he does sound a hell of a lot like Eddie Vedder. Though the band can seriously rock out when they want to, I'm wondering if they might be more successful doing the atmospheric rock thing, whic is pretty effective here. There's not enough bone crunching metal on display to really judge if they can be a force in that genre-my guess is they threw a few metal tracks in here to see how they went over, but it's clear the more moody, rootsy, and psychedelic fare is where this band really hits the mark.

In summary, Excess has plenty of good moments, but I'm just not sure exactly what the audience is that they are targeting. Once they figure out exactly where they want the band to fit in, my guess is there will be an audience lining up to check them out. It's clearly obvious the talent is there.

» Reader Comments:

Coma: Excess
Posted by Sradowazy Szczadoniecki on 2011-01-10 12:06:19
My Score:

I can't believe, Steven, that you didn't make a closer look into Coma's discography. Excess is not their first album. Yes, this is their debut in English but they have also released two albums in Polish (Pierwsze wyjście z mroku and Zaprzepaszczone siły wielkiej armii świętych znaków). Here in Poland, they are generally regarded as way much better than Excess (or to be specific, Hipertrofia, in Polish).
Since the last album they have been criticised for joining the mainstream music. You definitely need to be aware of their Polish work when getting into discussion on Coma's identity.

I generally agree with this album review, though.

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