Review: The Absence “Coffinized” [M-Theory Audio]

Review: The Absence “Coffinized” [M-Theory Audio]

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In late June American melodic death metal band The Absence has released their fifth full-length album Coffinized via M-Theory Audio. And again they have stayed true to their unique melodic death/thrash metal mix, offering the classical The Absence material, but exquisitely polished and refined, making it so completed and coherent.

The American mdm scene isn’t very powerful, and it wasn’t even back then when all Europe was drowning in this Scandinavian phenomenon, breaking metal clichés and proving that with extra melodic lines metal still can sound heavy and dark. And then it opened the gates for a new genre – metalcore, and Americans who have always been strong into hardcore realm, started to adopt these new traits. So, melodic death metal from USA is much closer to metalcore than to more traditional Gothenburg branch, and the loudest names explicitly prove it – bands like God Forbid, All That Remains, Arsis or DevilDriver have always loitered around alternative music. And what about The Absence, are they too – typical representatives of this American mdm school? Yes and no. Yes, because occasionally modern rock influence is really audible, popping up with casual steadiness. And no, because they prefer to rely on thrash metal support, and with heavy metal straightforwardness, the music of The Absence navigates between traditional metal principles, melodic Nordic sweetness and aggressive thrash roots. So, these southern guys from Florida have managed to create their own stylistic concept without strict rules.

Coffinized is a very holistic release, without surprises or stylistic shifts; it flows evenly in fast or mid-tempo, never offering something extraordinary or irrelevant. It isn’t totally like you are listening to one big 50-minute long song, no, every track is whole and owns its individual mood, but all the compositions are so smooth and similar in structural and emotional way, that it’s not so easy to highlight any of them from the whole concept. But still, the doomy passage with the sounds of bells on “Cathedral Dawn” or flamenco-inspired romantic acoustic passage on “Choirs of Sickness” show some out of the ordinary traits. Heavy metal rhythms, thrash speediness and moderate melodic lines with constant screaming build up the foundation of this record. And Coffinized lacks the sense of melancholic darkness, which is the soul of European mdm; it is rather optimistic and hopeful, though the aggression is still in the bowels of this music, even during the softest melodic parts. So, without mild whining or too brutal attitude, Coffinized has found a right balance between modernity and traditionalism, as well as between the violence and softness.

It’s a bit strange for them to choose seemingly too bleak cover art, more suitable for atmospheric black metal bands, but the truth is despite the optimistic vibes and naturalness, the last opus of The Absence is also a deep and gloomy record, full of inner struggles and hate issues. And even if sometimes the songs lack catchiness or are too self-absorbed in themselves, Coffinized with its strong survival spirit isn’t only about the highest quality in everything musically, but also about uniqueness and perfect balance of finding its own self.

Release date: June 25, 2021

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