This compilation of songs and covers from Japanese Death Metal band COFFINS is one of […]
By Max Elias
February 17, 2021
Coffins - Defilements album cover

This compilation of songs and covers from Japanese Death Metal band COFFINS is one of the longest single album releases I've seen; with 24 tracks comprising around two hours of music if not a little more. It is a tough task to listen all the way through at once because of the length and also because of the old school, harsh and abrasive style of Death Metal that the band plays, which wears thin after too long. The first track "Hatred Storm" harkens back to the emergence of the style when bands like VENOM or POSSESSED combined the bite of thrash with the dissonance and chaotic production of what became known as Death Metal. And when I say chaotic production, I mean truly chaotic; by far the strongest element is the drumming, to the point where other elements are dwarfed sonically, except for the odd vocal line here and there. On "Tyrant" for example, guitars are only audible during lead breaks, and otherwise their timbre fades into the swirling gloom that is the sound of COFFINS.

Songs like "Craving To Eternal Slumber" give hope that if we could hear the riffs being played, we would enjoy them. It starts with an slow, eerie riff that reminds me of SLAYER with the grime turned way up, and sparse drumming on top that allows it to still be heard. At the same time, the song is a little over 7 minutes long and the first 5 minutes carry on with the same riff, or minor variations, which makes for a very monotonous listen. As the compilation goes on, none of its problems disappear or are alleviated. Faster songs like "An Obscure Pain" are marred as always by overpowering percussion and inaudible, but vaguely noisy riffing, at times joined by the brief demented howling of the vocals. The riffs are more present on "Decapitated Crawl", and are of the big, simple caveman variety. The slower songs seem to be the ones where the guitar penetrates the mix; such as "Under The Stench" (at least the beginning of it). One of the first songs where I can identify something close to a main riff is "Grotesque Messiah", where the band does thrown in some more distinct tremolo picked riffs.

If any length of song can be called the 'sweet spot' for COFFINS, who I don't think deserve that designation, it would be the shorter (3-4 minute) songs. When they try and write longer songs like "Craving To Eternal Slumber" or "Carpet of Bones" they come up with boring slogs that drag on far longer than they should on the questionable merits of one or two riffs, which while good at first, quickly lose their novelty and feel stale. "Carpet of Bones" feels a lot like Doom Metal actually, which I also dislike, but at least this time I dislike it because I don't like the style in general, not because it's objectively bad.

After wading through song after song of COFFINS originals, the second half of the release is covers of various other (and better) Death Metal bands' songs, as well as a few live tracks that are the same as they were in the studio, with the noise of the audience on top. I admit to not being familiar with the original versions of the songs they are covering expect for one, so I cannot speak to whether it is their fault that they sound awful or not. The exception is that they covered "Corpsegrinder" by DEATH, and though it is the clearest they've sounded on the album so far-because Chuck Schuldiner was one of the best metal songwriters to ever live-it's still plagued by overpowering production issues and falls short of the original. Even on Scream Bloody Gore, DEATH was always fairly clean and audible, and this is not either of those things.

This was both a very long compilation album and a very long review (because of how much music is on the album); but I'm going to sum it up in a sentence. If you like Death Metal, don't listen to this or you'll stop liking Death Metal; and if you don't know what Death Metal is supposed to be, you definitely shouldn't listen to this or you'll have an unfair bias for life.

4 / 10

Nothing special








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"Defilements" Track-listing:

1. Hatred Storm
2. Tyrant
3. Craving to Eternal Slumber
4. Stairway to Torment
5. An Obscure Pain
6. Decapitated Crawl
7. Hellbringer
8. Under the Stench (alt. version)
9. Till the Dawn of the Doomsday
10. Grotesque Messiah
11. Carpet of Bones
12. In Bloody Sewage
13. Corpsegrinder
14. Broken
15. Sisterfucker part 1
16. Evazan
17. I Hate You
18. Black Aspirin
19. Sisterfucker Part 1 (live)
20. Here Comes Perdition (live)
21. Under the Stench (live)
22. Decapitated Crawl (live)
23. Tyrant (live)
24. Evil Infection (live) (bonus track)

Coffins Lineup:

Uchino - Guitars, Vocals
Satoshi - Drums
Jun Tokita - Vocals
Masafumi Atake - Bass, Vocals

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