Review: Coffins / Depression [Hells Headbangers]

Review: Coffins / Depression [Hells Headbangers]

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Score 80%
80 %
User Rating : 4.5 (2 votes)

Coffins kick off this split LP with a whirlwind of demonic riffs laden with enough bass to make you feel the claustrophobia of being buried alive. The drumming sits nice and crisply in the middle of the mix to give a little respite from the ear-shattering heaviness of the riffs and the tempo shifts are nicely executed. You almost want the pandemic to be over just to look up admiringly at these guys in between taking punches to the face in the mosh pit.

The slow breakdown at 1.21 on second track Born from Fear shows that these guys can create melodic sludgy gloom as well as take your face off with wind tunnel riffs. The solos are a little quiet, but that’s only because Coffins are all about ferocious carnage. The drumming is spot on – the splash of the high hats and rides caress you reassuringly with one hand whilst the double bass and snare rob you with the other. The boys do a great job of covering Grave’s Morbid Way to Die and improve on it with their heaviness and production style – the blackened backing screams sting much better than that of the original, the drumming is much more colourful and authoritative, and the riffs far punchier. Owing to the savagery of the music, you’d expect the songs to be around 3 minutes as trying to headbang along to the final track for nearly 5 minutes will no doubt leave you needing gas and air and 3 weeks’ worth of physio for whiplash.

Contrastingly, the first 1.40 of Depression’s turn lulls us into a false sense of security with its soft synths, slow bass, and spoken word vocals, but this is traded quickly for the familiar pace that Coffins left us on – one can only assume the slow intro was left in as an auditory clue for a change in personnel, and although the bands are similar in style and tempo, the idea feels like relay runners dropping the baton a wee bit.

Metaphor time: the lead vocals are terrifying and ooze with as much filthy menace as broken sewer pipes, the riffs weave with the measured abandon of a Paul Gascoigne dribble, and the drumming is as tight as a Scotsman on payday. Everything sits so perfectly in the mix you forget that, if it were another band, one of either the vocals, guitars, or rhythm section would be pushed right to the top and would dominate the whole album, but like the perfect stepfamily, things are going smoothly and everyone is playing nice together.

Depression’s contribution would be much more enjoyable if it weren’t for the backing vocal yelps – it sounds like Ned Flanders screeching over his purple drapes and is, quite frankly, absolutely awful. When accompanying the lead vocals it distracts from their raw power and sounds like maybe it was ‘Bring your stupid little yappy Paris Hilton handbag dog to work day’ at the studio – who thought that was a good idea?

Overall, the combined 52 years’ experience of both bands is evident and, if you can overlook the odd clanger, this should be on repeat at your place for the weeks and months ahead. Coffins – 85% – Depression – 75% – average = 80%

Release date: December 30, 2020

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