Coffinfish – Epilogue
Polish post/sludge metal outfit Coffinfish bring their trilogy of H.P. Lovecraft-themed releases to a close with the aptly titled, Epilogue. Following 2013’s Staring at the Abyss and 2015’s I Am Providence , this newest release attempts to combine and condense all of the sounds and musical elements the band has toyed with over the years into one 21-minute track. It is an admirable feat that ends in success. The massive tune begins with a two-minute swell of gritty, guitar-generated drone that bleeds into a slow-building section of primal bass lines, echoing soundscapes and menacing doom crawls that are driven by a steady percussive groove. After five minutes of sludgy sprawl, the track switches tempo and post-metal chord progressions take hold. This cavalcade of chords flows into a suffocating miasma of darkened riffs, eerie keys and gruff vocals. A brief piano interlude about nine minutes in marks the beginning of the song’s second movement, which explodes into a procession of towering, emotionally-charged riffs. This cataclysm of chords is met with the somber piano once more, which immediately transitions into a beautiful ethereal section. Shimmering guitar melodies meld with grumbling bass lines, colorful keys and sorrowful clean vocals during this melancholic dirge. At this point the tune becomes a tug-of-war between these contrasting sections of sonic tranquility and crushing heaviness, eventually setting the stage for one final apocalyptic post-metal march that wreaks havoc upon everything around it before dissolving into nothingness. Based upon what Coffinfish offered on their two previous releases, Epilogue seems like the most logical step forward. The band don’t really add anything new to their sound here, but choose to refine their sound and use all of their strengths for one big release. Fans of Isis and the wealth of similar acts might want to take note of this record.
Release Date: April 28, 2016
Label: Unquiet Records
For Fans Of: Isis, Rosetta, Minsk and Cult of Luna
Gravitsapa – Demo-2
Ukrainian avant-garde act Gravitsapa offer up 33 minutes of polarizing, dizzying sonic experiments on their third release, Demo-2. Following the abstract math rock extravaganza of previous EP Vulgata, Demo-2 sees the outfit plummeting deeper and deeper into obscurity. The song structures are more minimal and empty this time around, with a myriad of noises and effects to fill up the spaces in between. Songs like “Tonik” and “Millipedes Reservation” feature misshapen math rock guitar and bass lines that drunkenly dance over sparse drum patterns and discombobulating reverse effects. Sometimes these songs take on an almost Residents-esque persona (“12-30”, “Hovorytskyi Yur”) in which the instrumentation latches onto a bouncy, carnival type rhythm and is slathered in weird, drug-induced soundscapes. Other tunes worth noting are “Laughter as a Defense Reaction”, which purveys an industrial doom feel, and “10div3=8”, which combines syncopated jazz rhythms with stoner metal grooves. While the band’s newfound style offers some pretty interesting moments on this record, it is a pretty big step back from their previous release overall. One major negative is the album’s use of the reverse effect. Almost every track on the record features a section in which the instrumentation is reversed, which makes the album predictable and a bit infuriating. Some tracks like “Gentile Lunatic”, “eu” and “Singalong” feature abstract, seemingly improvised instrumentation that is, unsurprisingly, slathered with that reversed effect throughout their duration. These moments on the record are experimental with no real substance and add nothing to the record. When Demo-2 works, it works. Fans of experimental and avant-garde music will be intrigued by the weird amalgamation of industrial, jazz, doom metal and general wide-eyed weirdness. But the album’s overuse of certain effects, repetitive structures and pointless interludes prevent it from being what it could have been.
Release Date: May 14, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “12-30”, “Millipedes Reservation”, “ryb”, “Laughter as a Defense Reaction” and “10div3=8”
For Fans Of: The Residents, Captain Beefheart and Hella