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Coffins and Agoraphobic Nosebleed have seemingly nothing in common. Coffins is like a medieval morning star: songs bludgeon and maim, and blunt force trauma is likely. ANB is like death by 10,000 paper cuts or a deranged surgeon's scalpel. Each small cut hurts. Both bands, however, have an affinity for releasing much of their discography via splits. Deepsend Records has compiled and released a double CD digipak containing all of Coffins' split releases and vinyl-only tracks.

Ancient Torture is a handsome gatefold package with album art from each of the splits and vinyl appearances. It has a wide range of material, although Coffins makes no stylistic leaps - a split with Lobotomized, the infamous 2008 Cracks of Doom split with XXX Maniak (review), and a split with Cianide. Mark Riddick's cover art (original sketch) features two hooded executioners ready to behead a decomposing body. It looks like the job is complete, but nothing is wrong with over-the-top images for Coffins. Perhaps the only thing lacking is a booklet, but considering the band’s native language is Japanese, that might be asking for too much.

There's no need to wax poetic about the music; you know what you are getting with Coffins. It’s always powerful and slow. And it’s always good. It’s the almighty power of a simple metal riff distilled through Jesus and Mary Chain levels of feedback. "Corpse Parade" boasts inhuman levels of feedback and near-tribal drums before a slow riff that would make most doom look like thrash. The unpolished "Offalgrinder" moves like vintage Hellhammer. And the studio and live covers of Venom's "Warhead" put the somewhat campy original to shame. Listening to Coffins makes you feel like tenderized beef.

This year is shaping up to be good for Coffins. Osmose Records will re-release three albums (Mortuary in Darkness, The Other Side of Blasphemy, and Sacrifice to Evil Spirit) with new artwork and layout and bonus tracks. They'll be playing Roadburn after a stint at Maryland Deathfest last year. Buried Death still smokes (review). Prepare for more primal riffs.

— Justin M. Norton

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HEAR ANCIENT TORTURE

"Corpse Parade"

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"Offalgrinder"

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BUY ANCIENT TORTURE

Amazon (2CD)
Deepsend (2CD)
Deepsend (t-shirt)

Deepsend (2CD + t-shirt combo)

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