Coils of the Black Earth

Sometimes all you need is some cool cover art to pull you in. A black and wraith-like six-armed winged deity, bristling with weapons and riding a flying serpent past a rotting Lovecraftian cairn piled high with skulls. Part Frazetta and part 18th-century woodcut, lovingly created by Chilean illustrator Daniel Desecrator. It’s simple and stark and yet packed with detail.

Anyway, not here to review the art but it does have a lot in common with the album it adorns, the debut full-length from Finland’s Maveth. They’ve got an entertaining and speedy take on brutal death metal that’s also simple, stark and packed with blackened, churning melodies. It’s the tone that really pulls the whole thing together, though. Just as that cover illustration might not have the same bold impact as a color piece, the dense, filthy and wet-sounding guitar tone on Coils of the Black Earth perfectly captures the centuries-old rot, decay and grand, otherworldly terror promised by song titles like “The Devourer of the the Gulf,” “Beneath the Sovereignty of Al-Ghul” and “Hymn to the Black Matron.” Vocals are equally as wet and textured – the sound of liquefying vocal cords in a throat full of half-chewed meat and maggots.

There’s a lot here that reminds me of last year’s excellent Disma – another album whose artwork fired the imagination before the very first crushing note or bellowing gurgle even hit my eardrums – but I have to say I prefer the melody and songwriting on Coils of the Black Earth. It’s a lumbering, shambling Shoggoth of an album, all whipping tentacles and oozing, ponderous bulk, yet somehow it’s able to move quickly and relentlessly through its subterranean stone passages.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
December 13th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    haha, great review.

  2. Commented by: Jordan Itkowitz
  3. Commented by: stiffy

    I picked this up the other week. Not quite as good as I thought it would be. It’s a little bland, but for a heavy death metal fix this will do.

  4. Commented by: SRK

    Only listened to the stream of this, but it’s one of the best death metal albums of the year, in a very strong year for death metal.

    Also: another winner for Dark Descent, and their release schedule from now through early 2013 looks awesome (Desolate Shrine, Vorum, Krypts, Swallowed, Imprecation, Lantern etc.)

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