Coffins - March Of Despair picture-LP


March Of Despair was when I first noticed an uptick in Coffins songwriting ability. No longer content to just bash out the most primitive forms of death metal, this EP finds Coffins varying up their songwriting formula to include a touch more variety, though they sacrificed some heaviness to achieve it.

That's not to say they've tweaked their formula out of all recognition. This is still the Coffins we all know and love, with the loping lurch of reanimation coupled to a strict adherence to a pre-90's evil aesthetic that breathes life back into the earliest, crudest stylings of death metal. But whereas earlier albums and EPs faltered along the cracks of sluggish monotony, the band sounds much tighter here and they confidently vary the riffs and tempos accordingly. The best example of this is "Grotesque Messiah," which gallops out the gate with a blistering d-beat assault that sounds positively lightning speed by Coffins standards. That song is just nasty and points to Coffins formulating a stronger self-identity and not just being Japan's answer to Autopsy and Winter.

This increase in energy translates across the EP. Even the more carrion crawlers like "Carpet Of Bones" and "In Bloody Sewage" sound increasingly vital and less cumbersome. The former even gets a kind of Sabbathy dark-blues vibe going in the middle, while the latter rumbles and tumbles like an austere killing machine slowly pulverizing the earth beneath its treads. Finally, the wrap-up cover of Death's "Corpse Grinder" lets you know we're still knee-deep in the 80's here -- metal may have moved on but Coffins never will.