The Fleshland

Written by: EW on 02/09/2013 15:17:57

Following on from my review of the latest Autopsy LP comes an even sicker and dirtier release from one of their primary followers, the Japanese doom-death merchants Coffins. Now on album 4 Coffins are the stripped down, singularly minded bastard offspring of Autopsy and Asphyx with a dash of Winter in the mix. The lack of definable structure and variation within their sound has held these guys back in my mind since discovering them around the release of previous album "Buried Death" in 2008, and while that trend unsurprisingly continues in earnest here on "The Fleshland", I find a sense of admiration in Coffins' unrepentant and incorruptible sound - it is without pretence, an honest punch in the face of what passes for overly calculated death metal these days.

It is telling that in the five years since "Buried Death" the band have released material on 10 splits, 2 singles, 2 EPs and a demo; like their Japanese brothers Sabbat, cultivating a busy underground presence is of much more importance than spending every energy in creating singular albums to express their artistic wonts. The deep metal underground works in mysterious ways like that. The result I find, though, is that such bands have a tendency to release everything that gets recorded, and "The Fleshland" is very much the exploration of a settled band than one chomping on the boundaries of their genre. After no more than the third of fourth listen did I feel that everything there was to discover within the borders of "The Fleshland" had been found, leaving the further repeat plays more a cycle of revision than audial enlightenment.

What is there to discover in those few listens at least? Well, the crust that sits on the belched vocals of Uchino like foam on a stagnant pond compliments the heavily down-tuned guitar tone and fat, natural drum sound, enveloping you, the listener, in a sticky caustic slab of downright ugly death metal. It certainly ain't pretty and I like it, as the sense of foreboding causes worries that I might meet the kind of grisly fate usually reserved for slasher movies or Cannibal Corpse lyrics. Thanks, however, in part to being limited to only two speeds of attack - crushing slow or bruised an bounding - as well as a lack of individual identity to most songs feels under-developed in comparison to what Autopsy have released in recent times. This realisation came from the consistency of sound that leads upto and through third track "The Colossal Hole" and until the first real break of dynamics in number six, "Rotten Disciples" and has failed to break til now.

The up side to such a busy release schedule as Coffins employ is there won't be a three year wait to hear how they move on into the next album; give it a few months and some other release will be on its way to show that no matter the effectiveness of "The Fleshland" Coffins will keep on grinding out the same horror-filled odes to the true heart of death metal. It may not have caused severe palpitations of the heart this time but that spirit of passion I do fully applaud.


Download: Rotten Disciples, The Unhallowed Tide
For The Fans Of: Autopsy, Asphyx, Winter, Macabre
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 09.07.2013
Relapse Records

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