Have you ever woken up and thought, “wow, I really hate myself and everyone around me, but at the same time totally love Satan!” Because, if the answer is yes, then the split between two brand spanking new Relapse Records doom/sludge bands, Ilsa and Coffins, may be just the thing for you!
Landing sonically somewhere between being run over by an eighteen wheeler and being viciously torn to shred by a ravenous bear, both bands deliver a single, devastating track that is sure to go down as some of the nastiest doom this year while simultaneously providing satisfying teasers as to what might be in store for Ilsa’s ever-so-tempting Relapse records debut. At the same time, however, One cannot help but be a bit frustrated that given both band’s rather impressive track record, further cemented by the utter filth that is their new material, that there is not MORE new material on this split to sink into. One song from each band is, as stated above, a nice teaser, but does little to truly fulfill the endless desire for new material for both bands. But for now, onto the music.
First up is Coffins, doing as Coffins does, delivering high intensity doom metal sprinkled with a healthy amount of death metal riffing and intensity to make their music that much nastier. What has always made Coffins stand out, however, is the fact that in a doom scene that seems to love the death-doom combo, they forgo the flashy production of modern death metal and very much keep it to a nod to the past of death metal. This is refreshing as the music takes on a much darker, nastier tone in its own way, not relying so much on the production tricks that seem to plague death-doom, but instead their own penchant for raw, dirty riffs. Due to all of this, despite being a rather straight forward track, “Tyrant” cements itself as a punishing listen that will most likely earn more than its fair share of replays in days to come.
In a similar stylistic boat as their split mates, Ilsa provides a much rawer form of the death-doom formula, delving further into the territory of sludge and occult themes, giving their music a bit of a hardcore kick at times while still drawing heavily from their metal tendencies. As such it is no surprise that Ilsa’s contribution to the split, “Cult of the Throne”, is akin to a trek through murky, shark filled waters, appearing initially dark and daunting while still growing slowly more frightening and overpowering as the song goes on. Which, in the case of Ilsa, is a good thing as it shows that since their last (phenomenal) LP, The Felon’s Claw, they have not lost their edge, still capable of producing dense, crushing sludge metal and hinting at what their Relapse debut may sound like.
The two bands play off one another well, sharing a common style with enough distinctions between the two to keep the split fresh and engaging as the split switches from Coffins and Ilsa. It is death-doom at its finest, pulverizing, unforgiving, and completely captivating, sacrificing nothing in its pursuit of heaviness, and maintaining two different, unique takes on the style through out.