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Coffin Dust – This Cemetery, My Kingdom

First albums are a hell of a thing. For most bands, it defines many aesthetics: genre, attitude, ability, self-awareness. Some peak at the start and spend a career trying to recapture the magic; others improve upon their first effort and go on to bigger and better things. In the end, it’s still a big crapshoot.

This Cemetery, My Kingdom is clearly a death metal record, and Coffin Dust’s influences (Exhumed/Impaled, early Carcass, Discharge) are vividly on display. Rather than an album full of “match the riff to the classic band” moments, this filthy Philly crew change gears often. Blastbeats and black metal tremolo picking interweave classic metal guitar solos and sludge breakdowns without sounding forced. A few songs, notably “Mary Jane Rotten Crotch” and “The Portal in the Crystal Casket,” go for a bit too long. One gets the sense that Slime & Co. didn’t really have an ending for these tunes and just kept playing.

Where Coffin Dust really shine are on the short bursts of crossover/gore metal. “Pig Roast” is all breakneck gutter punk until it crashes headlong into a fat bass line breakdown straight from the titular cemetery. “Homicidal Tendencies” starts with a Leprosy-era Death riff, goes into a straightforward Slayer chug, and finishes with some Exhumed blasting and demon-gurgle vo-kills. It represents the album as a whole well: all over the place with the possibility of falling apart at any given moment. But it never does. On an aesthetic level it reminds me of Voivod’s early records, which were cool but messy. They figured things out eventually, and with some fine tuning Coffin Dust can as well.

This Cemetary, My Kingdom is out now on Unholy Anarchy Records.

— Chris Rowella

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