XXX Maniak / Coffins
The Cracks of Doom

A solid split of goregrind and deathdoom, The Cracks of Doom features two proponents of the extreme underground: Philadelphia’s XXX Maniak and Japan’s Coffins. The half-hour album is split evenly between the two bands; XXX Maniak boast twenty brief cuts between fifteen and sixty seconds, totaling the first fifteen minutes, while Coffins handle two epic tracks that by themselves comprise the second half.

Like early Mortician, XXX Maniak use movie samples and a drum machine. Michael Yale handles all instruments and invites several vocalists to contribute. “Skeleton Inside Her” and “Smoking Sumerian Debris” have an old-school Fear Factory vibe, thanks to Yale’s Dino Cazares-esque guitar throb. “Sandbox Sniffer,” “Grinded to Nothing,” and “Magician in the Bathrobe” are thirty-second grind blasts not unlike Napalm Death, while “Worthless Hole”—at least the first half—delves into the modern thrash of the Black Dahlia Murder. Yale conjures twisted lyrics in surprisingly rhyming couplets in “Sweet Relief in the Mausoleum,” and he definitely wins the award for Best Song Title with the A.C.-inspired “Picking up a Random Goregrind CD and Acting out the Cover with the Girl Next Door.”

Ultimately, Coffins are Winter worshippers: that fuzz-drenched, plodding doom that Nuclear Blast thankfully glommed onto back in 1992. “The Cracks of Doom” isn’t as smothering as their most recent material on last year’s Buried Death, but it does have an old Cathedral gravity to it, and guitarist/vocalist Uchino nails both Gaz Jennings’ warbling guitar solos and Lee Dorrian’s muffled growls. Coincidentally, their second cut is a cover of Cathedral’s “Ebony Tears,” which sounds even more subterranean and sludge-laden than ever before. A diverse split of grind and doom, The Cracks of Doom makes one wonder why more splits aren’t this satisfying.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Ayers
April 21st, 2009

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