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The Fleshland

Relapse (2013)
Rating: 7.5/10

These Japanese gore-mongers haven’t released a full-length platter for a while. In fact, it’s been five years since their 2008 Buried Death opus, although some of their work, such as 2005’s Mortuary In Darkness, has seen a reissue more recently. Since 2008 however, they’ve collaborated on a number of split 7”s and dabbled in a couple of EPs, but it’s good to have Coffins back with The Fleshland.

The quartet consists of Ryo on vocals, Uchino on guitar, Koreeda on bass and Satoshi on drums. Both Uchino and Koreeda like to try their hand at some of the vocals too, and so Coffins is quite a tour de force that combines old school styled gore-drenched death metal in the vein of Autopsy.

I always imagined that Coffins would be the horrifying sound if ever Church Of Misery waded into deathly waters – the guitar sound here is very dirty, doom-laden and mostly mid-tempo. This, coupled with the gurgled vocals and sledgehammer drums, means that Coffins are most certainly of the vile variety.

Thankfully, despite the crushing weight of tracks such as ‘The Colossal Hole’, this is no drone experience, far from it. Coffins are simply the sordid soundtrack to death and disgust, such is their repulsive sound.

Album opener ‘Here Comes Perdition’ is a nightmarish blend of down-tuned guitars that wrench themselves out from the initial gory squelches and omissions. To say the vocals are guttural is an understatement, as they belong in some silted depot forever lined with crusty blood and stagnant phlegm, at once leaking out of the speakers like some vintage death metal machine that can never be cleansed of its stench.

The Fleshland boasts nine tracks which for the most part are intestinal removers of the highest degree, especially the raging fuzz of ‘Hellbringer’, which ups the pace, and the gloomy, mud-thick bellow of ‘The Vacant Pale Vessel’, which features a twisted riff over Satoshi’s downbeat drum plod.

Elsewhere, we have my favourite track on the record, the clattering, rust bucket that is ‘Rotten Disciples’, which features some of the best drumming this side of hell’s basement, and the psychotic chants of album closer ‘Tormentopia’, which is no doubt the bastard offspring of Church Of Misery and Autopsy such is its putrid quality. Although ‘Rotten Disciples’ is the album’s thrashiest and punkiest cut on the flesh, the whole record refuses to let up until your skull is cracked and your battered brain is dripping all over the stereo.

Coffins are clearly the new masters of the twisted and perverse, and their grotty mix of gory doom and impure death trudge will most certainly leave you vomiting for more.

Neil Arnold

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