Indianapolis, Indiana’s Coffinworm uncompromisingly embrace the primitive, the raw, and the just plain ugly in the face of a technologically advancing age of music. Their sound is a potential palette cleanser if one ever feels bombarded with the squeaky clean and wants to get a little dirty. After two well received releases in 2010’s When All Became None and 2012’s Great Bringer of Night, the band return with IV.I.VIII, another potent fist in the face of all things holy.

Clocking in at six tracks and just over thirty-nine minutes, IV.I.VIII is a bleak, morose, and corrosive weaving of the darkest corners of death, doom, and black metal. Coffinworm drop their heaviest anchor in doom, providing a firm foundation for the band to occasionally veer off and pepper their sound with the occasional blast beat, meaty death metal hook, or pseudo-psychedelic black metal melody. The vocals relay between low guttural bellowing and high, distortion drenched screams, slightly calling to mind Southern Lord supergroup Twilight. The black metal infused guitar melodies on display here all seem to be doubled with an acoustic tone, giving them a primitive and organic feel. Also accentuating these parts into psychedelia is the eerie chorus effect on the guitars, bending slightly out of tune with each note.

The pacing of IV.I.VIII is parabolic, opening with barnstormer ‘Sympathectomy’ and its death metal inclinations, effectively relying on blasts and beefy doom hook trade-offs, ending with an ominous and creeping black melody. This dutifully sets the pace for the rest of the album, each song brooding, lurching, and ripe with darkly melodic bits that would not be misplaced on an Enslaved album, or in the case of the more warbly chorused lines, Xasthur.

The pace decelerates a bit in the album’s midsection, sorrowfully lurching its way through the mire and eventually forgoing blast beats. The hilariously titled ‘Of Eating Disorders and Restraining Orders’ arguably boasts the most crushing riff of the album, 2:45 being an earthquake of super doom sure to level the most sturdy house on the block. Closing track ‘A Death Sentence Called Life’ rounds out the curve, plowing forward with a post-black metal style blast and trem-picked riff that bends and swells, weaving through double bass driven verses and back again, ending with a pulverizing doom riff to round everything out.

As a whole, IV.I.VIII is an unapologetic and harrowing journey through the bleakest depths of metal, organic in its delivery and straightforward enough to ensure maximum imprint. Coffinworm are not trying to reinvent the wheel here, and they set out to ensure that these riffs and melodies stick with you whether you like it or not.

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Coffinworm – IV.I.VIII gets…


– DW

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