Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coffins - Ancient Torture

Ancient Torture
Deepsend Records

If you’re a diehard follower of cult underground Tokyo (Japan) based doom/death metal act Coffins, you’ll no doubt have a serious amount of vinyl from these guys within your collection. What I mean by that is that aside their three official full-length releases (2005’s ‘Mortuary In Darkness’, 2006’s ‘The Other Side Of Blasphemy’ and 2008’s ‘Buried Death’), Coffins rival Agoraphobic Nosebleed in terms of the number of split E.P.’s and singles they’ve released within their eleven years together. If you’re a fan of the band and you’re looking to complete your collection by getting a hold of the band’s other older releases, then you’ll have to be prepared to search high and low for some of their more sought after and hard to find releases, and some serious dollars to convince the owner to part ways with his piece of plastic.
But Coffins fans needn’t worry that half of the band’s extensive back catalogue remains tucked away in other people’s collections any more, as Deepsend Records have put together a rather impressive and lavish looking package in the form of ‘Ancient Torture’.
As the title implies, ‘Ancient Torture’ brings together for the first time all of Coffins’ various split releases, compilation and vinyl only tracks over two discs (With the exception of 2005’s ‘Sacrifice To Evil Spirit’ compilation effort), which effectively does away with the need of scouring the world for another piece to add to the ever building collection of plastic that is Coffins’ vast catalogue of music.
Comprising of twenty-one tracks, and organised in reverse chronological order, the first disc starts out with ‘Eat Your Shit’, which originally appeared on their split release with Lobotomized in 2009. Stylistically, this track gives you a clear idea of what makes up Coffins’ sound, with its primitive production values, thick guitar and bass sounds, delivered in a slow dooming/death metal sound and direction that brings to mind a mix of Asphyx, Hellhammer, Autopsy and Cathedral.
In terms of highlights, it’s hard to pull apart ‘Ancient Torture’ as every track is pretty much a winner, both because of its appearance here on C.D. and also because Coffins rarely deliver anything you could truly regard as a filler (In other words, if you like one track, you’re sure to like them all). But if I were to mention a couple of titles that really stand out for me, they would have to be the somewhat catchy and loose ‘Offalgrinder’ (From 2008’s split with Skullhog), ‘The Cracks Of Doom’, the band’s cover of Cathedral’s ‘Ebony Tears’ (Both From 2008’s split with XXX Maniak), the infectious groove of ‘Decapitated Crawl’, their take on Pungent Stench’s ‘Bonesawer’ (Both from 2007’s split with The Arm And Sword Of A Bastard God), the harrowing and mournful ‘Torture’ (From 2007’s split with Mala Suerte) and the band’s cover of Venom’s ‘Warhead’ (Which dates way back to 2005).
While the packaging is a little lacking in terms of liner notes, the music contained within (Not to mention the great artwork and overall layout by Mark and Mike Riddick) make ‘Ancient Torture’ is an absolute must for fans of Coffins.

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© Justin Donnelly