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COFFIN TEXTS
COFFIN TEXTS
Gods Of Creation, Death, & Afterlife
(Nuclear Winter Records)
26:27min

Having never heard this album before (shame on you Jason ;-) - Frank), it is certainly a profound experience for me to hear it now for the first time as a vinyl reissue on Nuclear Winter Records. On "Gods Of Creation, Death, & Afterlife", their first and only album originally released in 2000, COFFIN TEXTS delivers an astounding work of pure Death Metal. Hailing from Los Angeles, COFFIN TEXTS only released this one album (originally only on CD) and a subsequent demo as well as a handful of compilation tracks (they are apparently still active, however, and currently working on a much anticipated second full-length album). On their debut LP, COFFIN TEXTS strikes a harmonious balance between technicality and passion. As a result of this perfect integration of these two elements, "Gods Of Creation, Death, & Afterlife" deserves to be heralded as among the best U.S. Death Metal albums of the decade. Thus far, however, it has remained an overlooked classic receiving nearly universal praise from those who are familiar with it. While highly musically proficient, it is clear when listening to the album that, in addition to their musical skill, there is a tremendous depth to COFFIN TEXTS' work that is lacking in much of the other more technical Death Metal that was released in the early part of this decade. This may be due to the obsessive thematic dedication to Egyptian myth and ritual. Obsession is often necessary to build identity, and in the case of COFFIN TEXTS, the focus on Egyptian lore permeates all of their work and manages to seal it into a coherent stylistic approach distinct from much of that of their peers. Musically, COFFIN TEXTS, like many other bands in the Los Angeles scene at the time (e.g. SADISTIC INTENT, INFAMY, ENTETY - all of which share members with COFFIN TEXTS), borrow heavily from MORBID ANGEL, BOLT THROWER, IMMOLATION, and other 1990s technical Death Metal. Yet where some bands become stale and mechanical, COFFIN TEXTS maintains an organic fluidity to their playing as they concentrate on overlaying austere and depressive melodies atop the horrific and precise madness of the songs' rhythmic framework. COFFIN TEXTS accentuates the melodic elements of the songs, and, rather than simply relying on aggression and speed, COFFIN TEXTS demonstrates a substantial amount of compositional detail throughout the album. Refusing to allow the songs to simply degenerate into a frenetic blur, COFFIN TEXTS tends to rely mostly upon mid-paced tempos carefully interspersed with blasts of furiously energetic speed alternating with devastatingly dark doom. The production, thick but not sterile, lends itself superbly to capturing each of these essential stylistic elements. Rarely does COFFIN TEXTS stumbles during their presentation. Each of the songs is intensely dynamic, and the transitions between song parts seldom feel forced or contrived. Skillfully crafted transitions within the songs build the tension and suspense, ultimately giving way to passages that allow the listener breathing room to gaze in awe at the majestic power summoned by the structural integrity of the songs. In this manner, COFFIN TEXTS adeptly guides the listener through dark and claustrophobic corridors in which the fear of death abounds before leading him into open, cavernous chambers within holy temples only revealed in the afterlife. Ascetic and ritualistic, the sacrifice is made under the watchful gaze of Osiris (*note: this review pertains to the Nuclear Winter LP reissue. The original CD version contained two cover songs and a subsequent CD pressing included yet another cover track. Nuclear Winter chose to include only the original tracks to enhance the cohesiveness of the album). www.nuclearwinterrecords.com, www.myspace.com/nuclearwinterrecords

Jason Campbell

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