Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Coffinworm - IV.I.VIII (Profound Lore Records)

Coffinworm are a band that combine knuckle dragging caveman doom, swampy sludge murk, distorted and horrific death metal, blistering grind, and blackened blasts all performed with a vitriol that is shockingly brutal. Though Coffinworm touch upon nearly every sub-genre in the extreme metal cannon their music never feels incoherent or scatterbrained, rather they effortlessly combine all the defining characteristics from all theese styles into a bleak and twisted concoction of crushing madness. Every malicious shriek and growl is a misanthropic curse upon mankind, filled with mysticism and complete disregard for life. On IV.I.VIII Coffinworm push their horribly ugly sound even further towards insanity.

"Sympathectomy" begins the album with a blackened grinding assault. Guitars churn forth blistering riffs while the bass and drums rip forward, giving the track a massively heavy low end. The bass is extremely present throughout the whole album, as with all great doom and sludge albums. Bassist Todd Manning's playing is the muddy glue that holds this madness together, either plodding along or galloping forward ferociously with the guitars. Speaking of the guitars, the dual guitar approach the band takes is perfectly executed, creating the haunting yet brutal atmosphere I've come to expect from Coffinworm. The beginning of "Black Tears" is a trudging doomy section ripe with bleak dissonant chords. Riffs that cloud the mind with black murk, hypnotizing the listener in their decrepit doom. Coffinworm craft songs that sound distinctly their own, there are really no comparative artists to grasp on to because their music is so different from anything due to the sheer quantity of styles reflected in their horrible ilk. They even bring flourishes of noise into the frenzy on the track "Of Eating Disorders and Restraining Orders" creating another level of horrific destruction. Every track on this album contains a different mixture of the aforementioned styles, keeping the album interesting, making the listener anticipate which ungodly mixture of styles will assault their ears next.

It would be imposible for me to continue forward without talking about the lyrics contained in IV.I.VIII, vocalist and lyricist Dave Britts conjures some of the most interesting and deranged lyrics I have ever had the pleasure in reading. Through exposing the harsh realities of the world we live in, yet cloaking them in mysticism, Britts creates an interesting juxtaposition between our world and other unearthly realms, seeming to speak to the idea that the world is far more twisted and horrible than commonly thought. Every track is laced with this sort of urban occultism with lyrics like, "Shooting syringes made of filed-down bones/Injecting the filth left from our subconscious minds/Stemming from our previous lives" Britt's continuously brings together blunt realism and surreal occult elements throughout the entirety of the album. All the lyrics are spewed forth by Britts either in a venomous rasp or a deafening guttural roar.

IV.I.VIII is simply put a record that pushes the sonic boundaries of extreme metal to new heights. It is clear that every member of this band is a gigantic supporter of the underground scene and has been for some time. The evidence lies in the band's ability to craft a record so unlike anything else (besides their debut) from stylistic reference points across the metal spectrum. The album is available for purchase from Profound Lore here and streaming here. Yet another success from Coffinworm, a band I will continuously support and keep an eye out for, as should you.

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