COFFINS are one of those bands who stare directly into the face of all that is ugly, and do not flinch. Much like AUTOPSY (to whom they owe an obvious stylistic debt), they play a grimy, ultra-distorted and ultra-downtuned brand of Metal that focuses on those things that most people would prefer never to confront.
“Mortuary In Darkness,” the band's first full-length effort, opens with “Black End,” a cacophony of feedback and droning bass, that builds to a gradual crescendo over its 7½ minute length. The production quality is very compressed, making the feedback and eventual riffs sound suffocating.
This sounds a bit atmospheric for a band that purposefully lacks any subtlety, but it sets the tone well for the ugliness that follows. “Slaughter Of The Gods” kicks in, and the suffering begins. The guitar sound is gritty, and heavy bass plays tight with the riff. The drumwork is pounding, but not frantic, giving the music a quality that is more methodically sadistic in the punishment that it delivers. COFFINS do not grind or pummel their listeners senselessly or haphazardly. Rather, they give their audience a thorough working over, choosing specific sensitive areas to which they deliver focused, maximized pain before moving on.
What completes this sound, however, are the sick vocals of frontman Bungo Uchino. He does not growl in the traditional Death vox sense, but rather belches. In fact, he gives a sense of not even being the one in control, as the vocals sound as though his body is violently trying to expel something unwholesome. This gives the sound a malignancy that is impossible to fake, and the music is all the more frightening for it.
“Mortuary In Darkness” does not display much of the tempo variety that has crept into some of the band's more recent work. Rhythms are universally slow, and the bass lines are often droning.
COFFINS have released a helluva debut. Fans who like their music ugly will enjoy.
(Online June 21, 2010)