Posts Tagged ‘Coffins’

Coffins - Beyond the Circular Demise

Originally published on the Sleeping Shaman:

Legendarily prolific Japanese death/doom lords Coffins have returned with their first full length record since 2013’s ‘The Fleshland’, but they haven’t been quiet. Lots of splits and EPs have filled the gap, but there’s nothing quite like a full length Coffins record. ‘Beyond the Circular Demise’ releases on the 20th of September through Relapse Records and looks to be another record of superlative quality.

I’ve followed these guys since their superlative 2008 record ‘Buried Death’ and they’ve rarely disappointed. Immediately grinding out a nasty, Swedeath riff in the opener ‘Terminate By Own Prophecy’, the guttural death growls belching untold blasphemies. The doom is strong in the crush of ‘The Tranquil End’, but it neither overshadows nor gets lost in the crunchy death metal. Coffins balance the two genres perfectly, making the transitions from savagery to imperious, monstrous riff feel so natural. And the doom comes with churning intensity, with the monolithic opening riffs to ‘Impuritious Minds’ being an immediate standout but not the only one.

What I’ve always enjoyed about Coffins is that their brand of death/doom has never been the vast, clean doom riffs layered with brutal growls. They have always felt like a true amalgamation of nasty, raw death metal and the crushing nihilism of someone like Winter or Burning Witch. Their music has never seemed majestic or imperious; it feels like a true musical representation of death and decay. The gut wrenching weight of ‘Gateways to Dystopia’ possessing aching riffs, while the savage growl of ‘Hour of Execution’ maintains that nasty edge.

Coffins have created an art form out of this style of music. ‘Beyond the Circular Demise’ is yet another exhibit in their gallery of gore, death and rumbling decay. Lots of bands claim to make music that feels like the end of the world. Coffins actually do it, and while their tectonic riffs help our dying planet on its way we can all bathe in the glory of it. All hail visceral, toxic, TRUE death/doom.

Coffins are Japan’s premier dealers of death metal in its most primal, sludge ridded form. Their discography reads as almost a hall of fame when it comes to quality, brutal death metal that has this unnervingly heavy quality. ‘Craving to Eternal Slumber’ is the latest, filth ridden addition to this formidable band’s legacy. A mini album that clocks in at just under half an hour, ‘Craving to Eternal Slumber’ keeps to their tried and tested formula of none more death.

‘Hatred Storm’ is an almighty belch from the underworld; a collection of swampy thick riffs with a guttural vocal vomiting unholy blasphemies. Coffins do death metal riffs filtered through quicksand, each one crushingly heavy and intent on dragging us all down to their level. ‘Tyrant’ echoes the legendary Celtic Frost with its proto thrash rhythm and obligatory death grunts. It is refreshing to hear a death metal band that is not content with either being uber technical and shiny, or OLD SKOOL DEATH with no sense of song writing. Coffins write solid death metal songs, and then back them up with a sickeningly dense guitar tone.

Everything they do is designed to provoke an atmosphere. Even the solos sound like voices wailing from the void. The doom infected title track sounds like Nile if you stripped out all the extras and left it at its rotten core. It is slow, menacing and unutterably dark, barely inching above a dragging pace. The helpless screaming is a perfect touch.

The quality rarely dips below excellent, through the rumbling ‘Stairway To Torment’, with its Autopsy worship showing, via the tectonic ‘An Obscure Pain’ and the queasiness sway of ‘Decapitated Crawl’. Coffins manage to create a record where every song is definitely different, yet all the same. It’s a rare talent.

Music journalists and fans will always talk about the evolution of music, and how each genre can move forward into new territory. Coffins are the exact reason why stagnation should not always conjure up negativity. ‘Craving To Eternal Slumber’ is primitive, Neanderthal death metal with copious lashings of crushing doom and savage sludge. Coffins are masters of death, and ‘Craving To Eternal Slumber’ is their gospel.

Coffins are a band I have a huge respect for. I first became aware of them after they released ‘Buried Death’ in 2008. They play dirty, down tuned filthy death metal with none of this modern tech death guitar wankery chaos. Its simple but brutally effective.

‘March of Despair’ is exactly that, a murky five track EP that chainsaws its way through the listener, part sludgy Autopsy, part buzzing Entombed, all awesome. Opening track ‘Till Dawn of the Doomsday’ is a dirty rumble through prime early Death and Massacre territory, before ‘Grotesque Messiah’ grabs your battered corpse and barrels headlong through razor wire riffing. It ends with a crashing, crushing breakdown that sounds like doom itself.

‘Carpet of Bones’ has Celtic Frost shot through its veins, complete with referential ‘URGH’ at the start. It’s a seven minute trawl through sewage and filth, led by some tar thick Autopsy style riffing and the creeping mid section is just tasty. Its difficult to slip something like that into what is essentially an old school death metal record and not come across as disjointed. Coffins pull it off because their focus is the atmosphere which it creates. Their death metal is primeval (not primitive), a lesson in the construction of murk and horror. Too many death metal bands these days are razor sharp, clear and vicious. That’s all well and good but death metal is supposed to sound nasty. It’s supposed to sound like its crawling from the mud ready to tear you apart and feast on your innards. Coffins have this feeling in spades. ‘In Bloody Sewage’ is one of the best track names for a death metal song I’ve ever heard, and is another creative high mark. The EP closes with a Death cover, and of course it’s first record Death (Corpsegrinder).

Coffins are a band that slay, and their sludgy, raw take on death metal is refreshingly awesome. Pick up this, or their new record ‘The Fleshland’