by Cosmo Lee

Since 1996, Tokyo’s Coffins have honed an instantly recognizable blend of death and doom metal. Other bands have similar girth and fuzz, but few have such command over momentum. One gets the image of a massive mecha machine building up a head of steam. Commonly cited reference points include Autopsy, Winter, and Hellhammer (including copious Tom G. Warrior “Ooh!”s), though I like Coffins most when they shift into a sort of one and half gear between death and doom. It’s a simple oompah that’s so primal and right. “Altars in Gore” is basically the “Peter Gunn” theme as a hammering two-step. “Under the Stench” begins with Godflesh’s Godzilla stop-motion stomp, then lumbers into an inexorable AT-AT Walker trudge. Chris Moyen, responsible for Coffins’ other lids, outdoes himself with a graveyard that contains a canny tombstone reference: “Mary Westmacott, 1890-1976.” That’s Agatha Christie – well-played. Both the CD and LP come in gatefold packaging; the latter includes a poster, with the first 200 mailorder copies adding a patch and stickers. 20 Buck Spin really stepped it up a notch here.

Altars in Gore
Under the Stench

20 Buck Spin