Nebulous update, but nonetheless some news:
The vinyl for IV.I.VIII is in progress and there will be a formal announcement about the label, packaging, and release date very soon. We have been informed that test presses are in progress. Stay tuned!
Coffinworm has been terrorizing the world since the release of their debut demo, Greater Bringer of Night. From that point on the black/doom/sludge sickening horror that they unleashed continues to haunt us. Their excellent debut album, When All Becomes None, would certainly seal the deal, and their split with Fistula would only increase the anticipation for a follow-up album.
So here it is,IV.I.VIII, making us all silently scream in awe with the brutality that the band has been able to reach. What is so remarkable about Coffinworm is their ease to bring together black metal and sludge. “Instant Death Syndrome” is the ultimate testament of the unique duality of the band. In one end you get the eerie black metal leads, accompanied by the fast drums, and alternatively on the other end you get the pure weight of doom/sludge at its very best. It is quite impressive to behold, to be fair.
What is even more astonishing is how many different methods of sonic manifestation the band is able to take on. “Lust Vs Vengeance” brings out the heavier side of Coffinworm with the slow tempo overwhelming your very existence as the huge riffs slowly take over. However what lies within the core of Coffinworm is the urge to crush your soul with their slithering melodies. For instance, the appearance of the clean guitar leads does not act as a shelter from the ongoing storm but, rather, as a sinister force trying to struggle the life out of you.
The input of Sanford Parker (of Minsk and Corrections House) is quite noticeable on the album with the producer/engineer managing to bring out the best sound to accommodate for both the weight and the ambiance of the band. And in terms of ambiance, the band can sometimes go even further. For instance, the minimalistic part, halfway through “Of Eating Disorders and Restraining Orders,” with the effects hovering all over the place, is creating a dystopian environment that just givesIV.I.VIII that extra push.
Still, Coffinwom is able to amaze you even further with their ability to take on multiple forms in different areas. For instance the powerful groove of “Black Tears” is instantaneously making you want to start destroying everything in your line of sight, while at the same time the band retains the same amount of darkness that they have had since their inception. And when you also experience how the deep growls and shrieking screams can co-exist in disharmony within the band’s music, you find yourself on the very edge of sanity. But in essence, all that this album needs in order to convince you of its greatness is a single listen of the closing track, “A Death Sentence Called Life.” The pure malevolence of this opus is beyond description.
IV.I.VIII is an album that rips apart the skies and crushes the very earth. If you consider yourself an extreme metal fan then there is no excuse for not listening to this malicious masterpiece.
9.5 / 10 — Spyros Stasis
“If Heaven is merciful, it will someday efface from my consciousness, the sight that I saw and let me live my last years in peace. I cannot sleep at night now, and have to take opiates when it thunders.” – H.P. Lovecraft, The Lurking Fear
If you’re a real, tried-and-true human being…one with a legit sense of heart and feelings…the odds are most definitely stacked toward the possibility that you’ve somehow, at some time in your life, been subjected to some of the most relentlessly pummeling darkness a stint on this plane of existence has to offer. With all of the light our eyes can witness and embrace, there are just as many shadows to choke our day to a halt. When it comes to the more grotesque, dismal side of things, life is really good at dishing that stuff out in gloriously destructive helpings. There are tons of old sayings about taking the bad with the good that pretty much seem to be an attempt to gloss over just how immensely anguishing our reality can be. Loss is real. Heartbreak is real. Rejection is real. Degradation is real. Hatred is real. Death is real. The unending abyss of total, sanity-killing darkness is 100% real. The thing is, only those with genuine heart and feeling can truly attest to what it’s like to go through those things…unless, of course, the very journey through the nightmare is what so viciously dragged them under. What’s really quite refreshing, in a world so full of unbridled misery, is when that Cimmerian stranglehold is harnessed to create something that’s just as hellish yet cathartic…and disturbingly beautiful all the same.
The Circle City’s very own masters of misanthropy, Coffinworm, have always seemed to have their collective finger on the throbbing pulse of life’s penchant for punishment. The band has returned with IV.I.VIII, their second full-length offering through Profound Lore Records. This time around, the kind of sludgy, black blooded nightmare psychosis that ran rampant like a plague doctor’s worst nightmare on 2010’s When All Became None is masterfully multiplied with gloriously unholy results.
With Sanford Parker once again handling production at Earth Analog studio, and like-a-glove cover art by Scott Shellhamer, IV.I.VIII is Coffinworm’s invitation to not just stare into long into the abyss, but to become fully submerged in its madness. Sludge-infested riffs and gripping death metal tempos are in abundance here, which is something faithful fans of the ‘Worm should embrace with open arms. The same can easily be said in regards to noticeable enhancements in the realms of instrumentation and atmospherics. “Sympathectomy” gets things off to an appropriately chaotic death-drenched start before transitioning into doomier territory, and is followed up by “Instant Death Syndrome,” which previously appeared on the band’s split 7” with Fistula. And, as if the one-two punch of the first two tracks wasn’t enough to level all adversaries, the remaining four delightfully destructive ditties that round out IV.I.VIII follow suit with ease. Closing number, “A Death Sentence Called Life,” features guest vocals by Jacob Bryan of Indianapolis straightedge hardcore outfit, Overpower, and drives home the fact that while you may very well like what you’re hearing, you’re still neck-deep in the choking lunacy of life. This is a record that is straight-up fueled by that nightmare. But it’s like that old saying goes about what doesn’t kill you…and Coffinworm have just returned that much stronger.
Coffinworm - IV.I.VIII review: The miasma of pure death.
Coffinworm are one of those bands that never fail to deliver exactly what is expected of them. Even hearing the name of the band guarantees that you know what will hit you as soon as you press the play button. ‘Coffin’ and ‘worm’ are two words that bring connotations of darkness, morbidity and filth; three words that perfectly describe ‘IV.I.VIII’.
The band paved their way into the metal world with the release of ‘When All Became None’, putting forward a blackened brand of sludge metal with hints of death metal. So how does ‘IV.I.VIII’ hold up to that album?
It’s worth noting that the death metal elements only subtly ingrained into ‘When All Became None’ have been expanded with ‘IV.I.VIII’. Although Coffinworm are known as a blackened sludge band, sludge elements within this album are no where near as pertinent as the death metal nuances akin to that of bands like Maveth and Antediluvian. Tremolo-picked riffs are scattered throughout the album, such as in the beginning of ‘A Death Sentence Called Life’, and serve as a real highlight. These riffs, accompanied by the occasional use of blast beats, help to break out of the slower paced, doom-influenced sections of the album. This is not to suggest that sludge is completely missing on this album. The song ‘Black Tears’ has a very Neurosis-esque vibe towards the end, and the filthy, muddy production definitely conforms to sludge tendencies.
Not only this, but the guitars are produced in a very thick, grimy tone, similar to that of Lord Mantis. The production on this record is perfect for the nihilistic vibe of the album as a whole. Reverb is heavily applied to the guitars at times to convey a sinister atmosphere, as if the band are playing in the deepest chasms of hell; a rather fitting location to play, given that vocalist Dave Britts sounds like Satan himself. Often alternating between low-pitched, guttural grunts and high-pitched, throat-shredding shrieks, Britts’ range is phenomenal, and his performance on ‘IV.I.VIII’ cements his place as one of the finest vocalists in the underground metal scene today.
However, if there’s one thing that could be said about this record, it’s that it’s strength is also it’s Achilles heel. While the focus on creating a sinister, foreboding atmosphere is ultimately rewarding, there are a few times here and there where the record feels like it’s plodding along sluggishly, and there seems to be a lack of a clear focus and direction at times. For example, the song ‘Instant Death Syndrome’ feels a lot longer than its five minute run time, using a variety of mid-tempo riffs that feel like they’re molding into each other without any direction. Admittedly it is somewhat clear to see why the band are doing this - to create a hypnotic, evil atmosphere - but there are not enough lively moments (like the ones found at the intro of ‘Sympathectomy’) to break free of these doom-laden confines and give the album any variation.
Having said that, ‘IV.I.VIII’ is definitely an improvement upon ‘When All Became None’, and is the result of a band realising their sound and making the necessary changes to create this rather natural progression from the aforementioned album. If you like your metal dirty, morbid and totally gloomy (as well as varied in its influences), then Coffinworm have dished up a record which will be of utmost interest to you. The only question is, where do this Indiana five-piece go from here?