Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Coffins: The Fleshland (2013)

Hellhammer Laced with Valium

Review by Metallattorney. He is the law.

Coffins is what you would get if you played Hellhammer at half speed on your record player. Seriously. The Japanese death/doom trio plays a slow, sludgy, dirgey style of metal that sounds like the soundtrack to the darkest, most disgusting zombie movie imaginable. Coffins is one of the most prolific bands going and releases multiple recordings every year. It has to be exhausting to have to write and record new music this often, but it does not seem to bother Coffins much. Each new album sounds fresh, in a rotted, exhumed corpse sort of way.

This is actually only Coffins' fourth full-length album since their formation in 1996. They typically release their material in the form of EPs and splits. This is also the band's first full-length on a label with a wider audience as Relapse has picked up the band for this release. Whether this results in the band becoming more well-known remains to be seen.

Coffins presents their typical album here. Their songs tend to alternate between the slow deathy dirges with a ton of distortion and a tense atmosphere to songs with more of a galloping, faster-paced crunch. The one constant is the decayed, rumbling croak of band mainstay Uchino. The best songs are typically the ones that combine the groove-driven, faster sections with the disturbingly creepy atmosphere present in the slower tracks. "No Saviour" stands out as one such track. Then there is "Dishuman", which is the fastest track I have yet heard from Coffins, and comes perilously close To Mega Therion-paced Celtic Frost early in the track before descending into the murky sludgy pace the band typically uses.

This is one of the tighter recordings that I have yet heard from Coffins. Oftentimes the band tends to drift a little with the slower tracks into an almost hypnotic, trance-inducing sound and long drawn-out sections. Those are largely absent on this release. Instead each song flows about as well as this type of metal is capable of. The band has a better grasp on what they want to achieve this time around and are able to do so effectively. That makes this a much more enjoyable overall listen than albums past.

I have been a fan of Coffins for quite a long time, but this is undoubtedly one of the best albums I have heard from the band. Coffins has ceased to be a band in search of an identity. They have embraced their Hellhammer-laced-with-valium style and tightened up their sound.

I give this album 4 out of 5 stars.

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