Coffin Torture – Blennoid


South Carolina duo, Coffin Torture, look exactly how you’d expect a sludgy death metal band to sound. Both could pass for unemployed gamers living off pizza and ingenious ways to make a living without committing to the nine-to-five insanity that befalls the rest of us. The world needs people like Jim McMillan (aka Blind Samson) and Alex Thorfinn to write the goriest and meanest music their bedrooms can produce. They started their noise transgressions as early as 2008 and released three EPs before unleashing their debut album in 2018. Now, they return with their sophomore recording, and it reminds you why they had a 2012 EP called Cave Dweller.

Like Maryland trio, Yatra, Coffin Torture’s trajectory moves closer to death metal with every release. Blennoid might be slow and swampy in its movements, but it hisses at you with the ferocity of a gorilla protecting its brood. The distortion on ‘Ükhsen Uul’ is drier than a Saharan lake and as grotesque as the biodegradable contents of a vacuum cleaner. Listen how the opening downstrokes resemble the initial kick back of a rusty chainsaw. This is the type of music that will cause your irises to expand into button shapes. ‘Budo’ starts with a plucking banjo and African percussion before the fuzzy bass offers a sustained sneeze of gory plectrum strokes. The guitar chords rumble like the belly of a polar bear displaced by the effects of climate change. You might feel like your head is inside the jaws of a beast when they finish with you.

It’s possible that Coffin Torture still believe their music is sludge or doom metal, but death metal fans will recognise the DNA of this audio terror. Alex Thorfinn’s grisly throat projections bristle with the gratification of a steak lover excited by the prospect of a rare cut of meat. Of course, the band race to the bottom of the tuning range to maximise the bludgeoning impact. ‘Confessor’ is how Meshuggah would sound if they wrote a sludge metal sequel to 2012’s Koloss album. The riffs on ‘Crawling Spleen’ are simple and enveloped in slow palm-mutes, yet the drums follow more inventive patterns and lead the momentum of the song.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of Blennoid is its subtle complexity. These proud cave dwellers dare to experiment with thrash metal techniques on the title track and end ‘Yateveo’ in a cacophony of prog metal stylings. They might save it to the end, but the use of chamber choir effects and folk guitars demonstrate the duo’s determination to serve you more than just gruel for your sustenance. Thorfinn’s melodramatic bloodlust vocals and agonising screams will transport you back to the golden age of the Italian horror films from the 1970s.

There’s nothing pleasant about Blennoid, but that explains its charm. Call it sludge or death metal or both, but this is transgressive art with no shame. Let your primitive impulses fester for the thirty-two minutes of this LP and see how it improves your mood.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 07/10/2022

Record Label: Sludgelord Records

Standout tracks: Ükhsen Uul, Confessor, Yateveo

Suggested Further Listening: Votov – I.X.X.I. (2020), Yatra – Born into Chaos (2022), Trial – 1 EP (2020)