I had always pictured Japan as a land of technology, anime and bubbly J-pop music. But on listening to Coffins for the first time, surprise hit me hard like a massive sledgehammer. This band was nothing like the other stuff, that I’ve heard coming out of Japan. It appears that I’ve been missing out on a big metal scene from the island country.
Coffins is a Doom / Death Metal outfit, hailing from Tokyo, Japan. They have been around since 1996, and have released three full length albums so far. However, after 2008, the band was seen to be releasing split after split with various bands. After a 5 year gap, Coffins is all set to release their fourth studio album titled, The Fleshland, through Relapse Records, on 9th July, 2013.
This album hits the listener and it hits hard. From the very start of the record, the band delivers repeated barrages of unrelenting Doom Death Metal. Every song is like wave after wave of heavy distortion and crushing doom. The album opens up in a slow and drone like fashion (‘Here Comes Perdition’) before some solid Doom Metal riffs kick in. The band seems content with taking things slow, and that is the case with most part of the album.
There are moments within the songs, where the band increases the pace before decreasing it all of a sudden. These changes in the pace of the song work like a roller-coaster ride, where the ascent to the top is slow, while the descent is rapid and over before you know it. The guitar work by Uchino, is a combination of heavy, down tuned distortion and some well written riffs. ‘The Colossal Hole’ is, as the name suggests, a colossal piece that aims to crush the listener with it’s sheer monstrosity. The band even manages to pack interesting guitar solos within their heavy doom songs.
The vocals are handled mainly by Ryo, while Uchino and Koreeda provide backing vocals. The vocalist sounds like he is spewing venom and his brand of gurgled vocals, add a very dark and grimy element to the songs. The songs are extremely bass heavy, with Koreeda’s bass work adding tonnes to heaviness of the sound. If one were to close their eyes while listening to this album, one would be transported to a dark murky jungle, where the music is the sound of giant titans stomping around.
The drummer Satoshi shines, in those moments when they are playing mid tempo tunes. He introduces some nice fills during the pace shifts. The second half of the album has a faster pace when compared to the first. The band seems to be as adept at playing faster numbers, as they play the slower ones. Songs like ‘Rotten Disciples’, ‘Dishuman’ and the album closer ‘Tormentopia’ are relatively short, fast and at times, even borderline thrashy. There is a slight hint of groove in these faster songs and they serve as solid Death Metal tracks.
The production of the album can be summed up in two words, those being dark and heavy. At times, it feels like a brutal assault on the senses. Sometimes, it becomes too heavy that it crosses the threshold of being bearable. Another problem, could be the fact that, this album has no frills or innovation of any sorts. It is a collection of straight up Doom Death Metal tunes. But if that is what is expected, then this album is extremely enjoyable.