Coffin Torture – Blennoid Review

Ah, sludge. The heaviest and slimiest of the fuzzy metals. Folks who have been following this blog for at least the last four years might remember that my critic debut covered Druglord’s New Day Dying, a stoner sludge record that I don’t remember at all anymore. I look back at that review and cringe a little on the inside, as my writing there seems very messy to me today. The same cannot be said for Grymm‘s ever concise and charismatic review of Coffin Torture’s Dismal Planet, which dropped that very same year. And because I did not check to see if anyone had covered Coffin Torture before, t’was me who snatched their upcoming grime slab, Blennoid. Sorry about that, Grymmfren. My bad.

South Carolina duo Coffin Torture deal in an especially heavy and deadly brand of sludge—reminiscent of the slower cuts from High on Fire, and Dopethrone minus the blues influences—and specialize in the art of The Riff™. In fact, I daresay the band injected a fair amount of straight-up death metal into Blennoid, such is the devastating nature of its groove and verve. The production, too, highlights this unholy marriage of satisfying fuzz and malicious groove, featuring extra-buzzy guitars but with a bass tone more closely aligned with 90’s death. For extra flavor, Coffin Torture infused vaguely tribal elements into the mix, ranging from extra percussion to flutes and vocal elements. Pacing spans between funereal to something resembling punk if it was stuck in a tar pit, but the chosen rhythms that occupy those slower tempos vary greatly from track to track, allowing Blennoid to move with deceiving agility across its tight thirty-two minutes.

Four years may seem like a long time to wait for thirty minutes of sludge, but Coffin Torture made every bit of those thirty minutes count. Opener “Ükhsen Uul” donkey-kicks anyone who dares approach with a huge, stomping swagger. While the six minute launch trudges along the same beaten path sludge always travels, the little details—like the incredibly memorable cymbal-work in the final third—move mountains to help it stand out. Closer “Yateveo” also shines brightly, offering some of the most creative and memorable riffs on the platter. It also happens to be the longest track while somehow feeling much tighter, which I attribute to excellent progression towards its satisfying conclusion. The title track, “Yateveo”‘s predecessor, also kicks major butt, chugging in high (relatively speaking) gear with groove-laden aggression. Smatterings of cool moments—extra doomy riffs on “Confessor,” seething death roars in “Budo,” writhing guitar and bass work on “Crawling Spleen”—further entertain and engage, bringing definition and character to each song as they slough through my ear hole.

Then again, it doesn’t take long before Blennoid sloughs right out of my other ear hole. Despite boasting a number of novel songwriting tricks and treats, only a select few of them stick over time. I can readily recall the energetic “Blennoid,” the bookends, and one growled refrain from “Budo.” Outside of those highlights, the remainder fades into nothingness. Part of the problem stems from the fact that several other heavy sludge albums, like Warcrab’s Damned in Endless Night or Dopethrone’s Transcanadian Anger, have already accomplished much of what Blennoid attempts, just with greater success. The other issue stems from a fair bit of recycling present in Blennoid’s songwriting, which becomes more and more noticeable with repeated spins. For example, certain riffs on “Confessor” sound oddly similar to riffs on “Ükhsen Uul” and “Yateveo.” These instances are admittedly insignificant individually, but altogether they detracted from my listening experience.

Blennoid offers plenty for sludge fans, and indeed could conceivably attract those who aren’t necessarily into sludge but just like their metal heavy, slow and full of swagger. Coffin Torture know their way around a cool riff. They know how to get in, fuck shit up, and get out at just the right time. The next step is figuring out how to make the ride unforgettable, indelible, irreplaceable. Once they get that nailed down, I foresee this promising duo fulfilling their potential.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Sludgelord Records
Websites: facebook.com/coffintorture | coffintorture.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: October 7th, 2022

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