German symphonic metal crew Effloresce are about as subtle as a pickaxe through the eye socket, and often every bit as painful. Musically, there is much to recommend in Coma Ghosts. Its uncompromisingly meaty, atomically heavy riffs, its lightspeed percussive flourishes and complex time changes pull the rug out from under your feet again and again. If there’s an acid test to be had here, it lays in Nicki Weber’s vocals.
The piercing, sub-Lloyd Webber yowling and clichéd musical theatre lyrics can be cloying: “You are my saviour,” she howls with a straight-face on opener Crib, “My hero in darkest night”. When she busts out an unintentionally hilarious goblin shriek of a death metal growl on Spectre Pt 1: Zorya’s Dawn, it might well be game over for all but the most dedicated symphonic metal fan.
This is a genre that few outside of its orbit ever really get to grips with. Effloresce are sure to find their niche and a dedicated fanbase too, but Coma Ghosts won’t do much to convert the prog fan who rarely strays into symphonic territory.
There’s musical value here, but for many the whiff of Phantom Of The Opera will be just too pungent to merit sticking around.