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4 out of 5 skulls
October 2, 2013 | ,

Coffins The Fleshland

Japan’s Coffins have released sixteen (16!) singles, EPs, demos, splits and compilations in the scant five years since their last full-length Buried Death. That’s as prolific as a band can get in between proper studio albums. I can only assume all of those minor releases were just practice and preparation for The Fleshland.

Coffins have never been a band to experiment terribly with their modus operandi. Straightward, churning death/doom delivered through cavernous walls of chainsawing riffs and earth-shaking rhythms have been key to the band’s popularity. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Instead, iterate on it slowly, like the erosive effects of glacial flow. Inject some tempo changes, a decent bit of corpse-banging groove and even some seriously lurching riffage that progresses slower than the speed of rigor setting in. And that’s exactly what Coffins have done with their fourth full-length.

“Here Comes Perdition” starts us off with a gloomy atmospheric intro before methodically introducing each element of the band as they settle into a crawling series of doomy riffs that dissolve into a churning wall of buzzing guitars and gurgling growls. This is as classic a Coffins as you can get. It’s dense, murky and destructive. “Hellbringer” drips with rotten, putrid cadaveric fluids as it moves along at a solid clip with plenty of head-nodding groove. The major problem I have with The Fleshland is the lack of overall flow. For instance, after the much more up-tempo “Hellbringer,” the guys follow it up with “The Colossal Hole,” a track that is mired in it’s own refusal to get the fuck along. Yes, it’s a crushingly awesome doom/death dirge, but it’s placement kills the momentum mightily – especially so early in the album.

Songs like “No Saviour,” “Rotten Disciples” and “Dishuman” are why I love this band. Each track is mid-tempo, but still carries a doomy character to the guitar tone as the guys chug along recklessly. The blasts in “No Saviour” are so dense and chaotic that they threaten to blow out speakers. The second of this trio of tracks is even more dense and arrives in a cacophony of layered guitars, bass and buzzing textures, like a ton of zombie killer bees are borrowing into your skull through every open orifice available. “Dishuman” chugs along with churning riffage and a catchy, head-bannging rhythm to accompany the guttural growls for Ryo.

The Fleshland is exactly what you expect in a Coffins’ album. It’s packed speaker to speaker with a wall of distortion, buzzing guitars, barbaric drum work, rumbling bass and low-end growls. What more would you want in the kings of death/doom?

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