Reigning it in, paring back on an extreme exaggeration of an already over the top form of stylized fuzz-scourged and distorted bass tanking sound design wouldn’t have made a lot of sense, especially when you’ve already so boldly crossed the threshold in extremis as a point of personae. No doubt Westminster, South Carolina based death-heavy sludge/doom metal duo Coffin Torture appear to have been built from a foundation of solely absurd choices, brained pinch-and-twist action that kept on cranking up the distortion, overdrive, fuzz and in doing so concocted some of the heaviest thunder-toned sludge/doom metal extant, at least within some manner of reasonable listenable craft. Yet as we land within the hellish kaleidoscopically gilded n’ cryptid-filled slime swamp of their follow-up release, ‘Blennoid‘, at no point does the heaving earth and snapping oak of their thundersticking resemble a crutch. In fact it is the exact right vessel for the stomp-heavy menace getting booted downstream herein as they continue to refine unto still unreasonable levels of snarling, grinding and slow-kicking death-attuned sludge.

From roughly 2005 ’til 2016 Coffin Torture admirably chipped away at their gig. They went through a few band names, toured the adjacent area, put out several rehearsals and live recordings to gauge how they were hitting with the general populace and of course the result was a true point of unhurried readiness for their big debut. The return on their troubleshooting and experience gained would be a fine debut LP (‘Dismal Planet‘, 2018) and flagship release from blog off-shot label Sludgelord Records. It’d reviewed favorably back in the day on my part and that debut still manages to stick in mind as an example of what potential exists in crossover between stoner and or psychedelic doom/sludge and death/doom metal heaviness. As far as what they were doing back then and what they are doing now, consider Coffin Torture‘s craft still in debt to the best of Grief and Sourvein (and modern analogues for each) yet they can be found leaning heavier into their morbid death/doom metal stalked extremes with each release. That shouldn’t suggest that all of ‘Blennoid‘ drops like a Coffins record but that it showcases a similar level of appreciation for extreme tones and monstrous guitar excess. If you already run with Inter Arma, Unearthly Trance, and certain Yatra releases it’ll feel natural enough to step into these neon lit growls.

When a band does their own album art for successive releases it most often provides key insight or generally analogous representation as to what has changed over time, or, at least in this case guitarist/vocalist and bassist Alex Thorfinn‘s cover art intensifies in both coloration, fluidity, and textural gnarl as does the general step taken from album number one unto two. ‘Blennoid‘ emphasizes the positioning of the bass guitar, gains precision with regard to the full drum kit while maintaining a modestly sized studio spaced reverberation, and the outsized guitar tones remain front and center-focused while more evenly distributing interest for the sake of allowing other aspects of their sound to lean in for feature. A protracted path towards suggesting that Coffin Torture have upped their general gig, mapping out this one to such a degree that it impressed up front. Otherwise the full ride is shorter and a bit more to-the-point than the previous record, landing around ~33 minutes and should be easier to digest if not already inclined.

Suffocated by torrents of voracious slime. — The pull here on my end largely centers around an extreme sound and the pockets of death metal intensity spread throughout ‘Blennoid‘, most of these moments hit hardest or with greatest consistency nearby the middle third of the record starting around “Confessor” and that lumbering, stamping cull continues to clobber out its chunking reap through the loosened sludge/death ratio of “Crawling Spleen”. Though this is the most novel and comfortable part of the full listen for my taste as a fan of the more traditional side of sludge/doom metal opener “Ükhsen Uul” lands a bit more in line with the more aggressive, punkish warps of the first record. It serves as an impressive showcase of Coffin Torture‘s inclination towards the primitive heft of mid-90’s sludge battery and easing off the bluesier swings of NOLA sludge for the sake of a surreal, brick heavy introduction. “Budo” does eventually take us there, as does the standout groove of the title track later on, but you’ll find less of a certain sort of saunter on this record overall.

Could definitely point to highlights in each song, the smaller touches which add character to avoid negative space, and I could dig into the inspiration for each song (from Stephen King to cartoons, etc.) a bit more but it’d suffice to say we’re generally getting a more focused, tightly wound set of songs from these guys this second time around and that’ll be a reasonable enough sum of what pre-existing fandom should expect. Coffin Torture have found the right-sized chunk and refined render for their maximal approach to sludge metal extremism, so, they need little more than a thumbs up and a ‘keep going’ from the likes of me. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (77/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
LABEL(S):Sludgelord Records
RELEASE DATE:October 7th, 2022

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