March of Despair EP

As much as I’ve always liked the Japanese Gods of the Deathly and the Doomed (a.k.a. Coffins), I don’t recall enjoying one of their numerous releases on a multitude of formats (probably even 8-track) quite as much as new EP March of Despair. By that I mean that it ended up being more than a one-spin-and-done-for-a-while experience, as I kept jumping right back into all the mud and guts of March of Despair. The flow of March of Despair is quite exceptional, as is the songwriting on the four originals and a cover of “Corpsegrinder,” which originally appeared on Death’s 1984 Reign of Terror demo.

So what’s the big difference with this Coffins album? With the possible exception of a more commanding, bordering-on-intelligible vocal approach from drummer Ryo Yamada (a successful switch), there really isn’t a “big” one. The Autopsy influence is there, the muck is still thick and stinky, the distortion is turned up to “Absurd,” and the buzzing kicks your tinnitus’ ass. But the death part of doom/death is more pronounced than usual on this one, including quicker tempos, and the songs just seem to be catchier.

The tone is set right from the start. “Till Dawn of the Dooms Day” is more than just mid-tempo and polka-beaten; it is damn peppy in its ugliness. Even those precious few seconds of fuzzed-out lead guitar are worthy of note. The tempo is even quicker on the uglier “Grotesque Messiah” (well, of course it’s uglier) before the growls turn to screams and the pace is slowed for the final moments.

But wait, it gets better. You had to know that a song titled “Carpet of Bones” was going to rule your world. A more traditionally recognizable Coffins mix of death and doom, the groove reaches its pinnacle here and the mid-tempo swirl is lordly, just like the bass lines are so ominous and the feedback so necessary. Now here comes the funny part. The award for catchiest track on the album is none other than “In Bloody Sewage.” It’s a two-beaten bout of bludgeon to die for (and you will do just that). If you can’t sing along with glee to a chorus of “Melted bodies prowl in bloody sewage / blood and flesh for the new mankind,” then more than likely you are clinically depressed and require a good ole price-gouging from the pharmaceutical whores. You already knew the Death cover was going to work since Coffins hasn’t met a cover yet it couldn’t mangle to perfection, so I’ll spare you the unnecessary dissection.

It’s not like going wrong with a Coffins album was ever in the cards anyway. All I’m saying is that for as much despair as would seem inherent in this march, March of Despair comes with an extra hot shot of bacterial good times. Coffins is one of the few bands that understand the benefits of being beaten with the proverbial ugly stick. Get some!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
July 2nd, 2012


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