In Coma are a five-piece melodic death metal band from Reading (although as the band explain in the interview that follow this piece, ‘melodic death metal’ does not necessarily do their music full justice). Fronted by Hels Greenleaf, the band is one of the rising stars of the UK metal scene and, on the strength of this demo EP, deservedly so. With a slot at Bloodstock 2012, as well as other festivals later on in the year, In Coma are clearly a hard working act deftly balancing the commitments of life with the requirements of being in a serious band intent on going places. The perfectly titled ‘Garage Surgery’ is the band’s first recorded foray and, despite sounding a little rough, it is a brutal snapshot of the band’s first moves.
Opening with ‘Alive in the fire’ the band slam out brutal thrash/death riffs whilst Hels’ voice recalls the white-hot fury of Angela Gossow at her most intense. Hints of Arch Enemy are certainly present in the band’s memorably melodic mix, but there are other elements here too – touches of In flames and Soilwork are also evident in the mix whilst the drummer Paul’s doom proclivities show through in the tom-heavy percussive assault he unleashes. What makes In Coma special, however, is that the melodies are present throughout, without ever compromising the heaviness of the material, the result being that the songs sit comfortably in your mind long after the demo has blown your ears off. ‘War of revelations’ is a personal favourite with its sludgy, southern style riff sandwiched between a thrashier assault, the contrast giving the song a vicious swing guaranteed to damage the neck muscles, whilst Hel’s astonishing vocal would give Danny Filth a run for his money in terms of out and out aggression and range. Third track ‘Dying awake’ has a syrupy groove to it, coupled with some blistering opening solos and a militant feel that makes the adrenalin flood the body and then final track ‘Enemy inside’ rounds out the album with one final blistering assault on the senses, very much capturing the live feel of a band carving out their own, powerful identity.
With such a strong demo to their name, it is mind-blowing to consider what in Coma will unleash next, but we consider ourselves lucky indeed to have had a chance to catch up with Hels Greenleaf and Paulo Nunes, surely two of the nicest people in metal, at bloodstock so that we could discover more about the mighty In Coma. Read on and meet the band:
Well firstly could you introduce the band for us please?
Hels: In Coma are a five-piece, melodic death metal band. We’re all from the Reading area and West London. We don’t really like the whole genre labelling but we just play extreme music, so that’s pretty much it!
Looking at your website it looks like you’ve got quite a lot of diverse influences including quite a lot of groove metal – is that right?
Paulo: Yeah that’s right. We all come from different backgrounds, especially me; I’m into Scandinavian death metal a lot. Some of the other guys are more into the American metal / southern rock sort of thing, so that’s where we get all the mix. Our drummer is very into doom metal, so that’s how we work on the songs.
Hels: Yeah – there’s an interesting chemistry there.
You formed in 2011?
Hels: That’s correct yeah – the full band as we are now – I joined in July of last year and our drummer joined in September and we’ve been gigging since November of last year.
So in one year you’re already playing Bloodstock…
Hels: It’s amazing we basically got here because we entered the Reading leg of the metal 2 the masses competition and we got through to the final. We didn’t actually win, control the storm won, but Simon liked us so much he gave us his wildcard slot which he was meant to be keeping for the London show, the next day, but we got it instead so we were really pleased about that.
Paulo: It’s amazing to be here…. It’s just amazing.
Have you been here to Bloodstock as fans?
Paulo: Yes, yes three times for me. Funnily enough I told Hels that we’re going to sort it out and be here this year so it’s amazing that it actually happened.
And this is your twentieth concert I think…
Hels: That’s correct – funnily enough our guitarist, Craig and Paulo, this is the first band they’ve ever been in and for Paulo this is his first festival ever and he’s getting to play it so… jammy dodger! He’s popped his festival cherry today!
How has it been for you?
Hels: Awesome – we turned up on Thursday – we made use of the shuttle… which was great because we’ve been doing festivals for years, since we were young teens, and it’s an amazing feeling being here. Getting the shuttle is amazing because you don’t put your back out!
What about recorded material?
Paulo: Well all we’ve got at the moment is our demo which we did ourselves in the studio. The quality’s not the greatest but it captures what we’re about and we’re looking to do a proper EP for the beginning of next year and you can expect some really heavy stuff because we’ve been developing to a very different place as a band. The more we play shows, the more we write; the songs are becoming to be very different to what you’ll hear on the demo.
Hels: there’s a real, natural evolution in this. The guitarists got together in 2010 and they’d been together for a year, writing, before they put the band together and just the evolution of the quality of the music and styles. It’s completely different.
Where’s the best place to go to get music from you guys?
Paulo: At the moment we’ve got the typical Reverbnation site. We also have links on our Facebook page. If you come to our shows, you get a free CD – that’s how it is!
Things seem to be moving pretty fast for you guys?
Paulo: It’s a rollercoaster man! I’ve been in bands for almost fifteen years, I’ve played shows, I’ve been signed to a label and with these guys it’s just a mad rollercoaster – it’s going so fast it’s a little bit scary!
Hels: it’s quite mind-blowing – it’s scary the way this is going and we’re taking every day as it comes. The response we’re getting from people – it’s not just the old we get people who come down who are our mates, it’s not just that it’s like we’re getting people we don’t even know coming to our shows and that’s really nice and we’re obviously getting about, our music’s getting out there and we’re really happy about that.
Paulo: Especially as we’re self-managed and don’t have a company. Everything’s done between us and it’s amazing – it’s been amazing. It’s difficult when you try to approach promoters for shows and they don’t know about us, but maybe if they hear about us they get a different perspective about what we can do. But that’s the way it goes and we’ve just worked hard to get here and we made it… and it’s a dream come true
Hels: It sounds tacky, but it is a dream come true!
Is it difficult to balance the commitments of trying to promote yourself, playing live and stuff and work?
Paulo: Very tough! I mean I’d been in negotiations with my manager at work for about two months in order to be able to get here. To the point where I told the guys if I don’t get the time off to be at this festival, f*** it! I’m just going to call in sick – I’m going to go down that road. So it is hard – you’ve got your family life, your work life… and to find time for this is hard but you always can find it somehow.
Hels: I work full time, I’m also doing an Open Uni degree and that, along with being in a band, is really stretching myself thin, but it’s all worth it.
Any final words?
Hels: yeah – check out our facebook (www.facebook.com/incomauk) check us out, listen to our stuff, come and see us and we hope you like what we make because we like making what we make and that’s it really!