COFFINS – Beyond The Circular Demise
Coffins have somehow flown under my radar over the years (they’ve been around since 1996!), even with my interest in the death/doom genre and general love of Japanese metal in general. Whilst this is not uncommon in that even the most ardent music archaeologist cannot uncover every note ever recorded, I cannot believe that I’ve missed out on the superior, brutal jams these cats are sending out, at least with this new album, “Beyond The Circular Demise”.
This album is pretty much pure old-school death metal with dark undertones of groove-tastic doom; the production is all Autopsy with a modern clarity, and the melodic shifts (when they happen) sound like Paradise Lost in a cage match with Incantation. The first thing to hit me over the head was the sheer heaviness of it all – whilst this is not unusual or particularly unique in modern death metal, the talent of both the band and producer is through the roof, because when this heaviness attacks your senses, it completely wipes you out. Luckily, there is a warm balance throughout, so the crushing weight doesn’t become laborious and the groove and songwriting shine through.
They waste no time whatsoever, kicking out the low-end jams with “Terminate By Own Prophecy” which is just a barrage of incredible and goddamn heavy riffs that take zero prisoners. When an album opens up with this kind of kickassery, ie: no time for atmospheric intros, instrumental fiddling about etc., then you know you’re going to be served a platter of straight-up, satisfying meat and potatoes. As mentioned, all 8 songs are cavernous, 1990-style death metal with very little embellishment or silliness, but the doom element shines through in tracks like “The Tranquil End” and “Gateways To Dystopia”, where the groove slows down to mid-paced sludge and really digs in. And yet, across the board, there is a d-beat/Terrorizer-esque grindcore punk vibe woven deep into the fabric of the music – they’re not the first band to do it, nor will they be the last, but they really pull it off and it makes the songs perk up and gets the head banging nice and easy. Hell, there’s even some Six Feet Under love in the adrenaline-fueled “Insane”, proving that these fellows just love throwing everything in that they dig and that will work for the song.
As someone that has never entered the hallowed halls of Coffins, “Beyond The Circular Demise” makes me want to check out the rest of their 23-year old discography post-haste, which just demonstrates the impact of these new songs. This is a near-perfect death metal album the way grandma used to make (if Chris Reifert is your grandma) – just solid, purely entertaining music with a naturally dark atmosphere and BALLS, and worth every second in your ears. Just do it.