Trenton, New Jersey's Coffin are stuck somewhere between modern Overkill and Demonic / Low era Testament's grooviness and barely manage to inject enough subtle thrash moments into their mosh stirring brand of metal. Vocally, Rich McCoy (AKA Morgue) touches down squarely between Rob Dukes and John Tardy. Then add flickers of Ron Royce without the snarl or general nihilistic aggression; decent vokills but nothing superior. Adequate for the music. While there are strong riffs across the five songs offered, they are typical, 'heard it before and heard it better' riffs. You can grasp an accurate picture of everything available here for the taking by listening to any one song on the EP. If you are into Coffin's style of groove oriented thrash, this will surely moisten your loinal region.
A strong production sports a particularly spectacular bass tone which, myself being a bass player, carries these otherwise mediocre songs a bit. The drumming on the album is sporadically tedious. At first, I thought it to be very nice sounding, with distinguishable toms and a low, thumping kick drum, but after listening through the EP two or three times, the snare drum began to irk me to no end. It has one of those "tupperware" tones. I do appreciate the natural sound of the the kit though. I can actually sit and pick out varying differences in each percussive note - a hard thing to find in music today. Featuring the talents of guitarists Roehr and Immolith (Greg Byrne), the playing on the album is nothing to drool over technically speaking however the rhythms are tight, and well performed. While the vast majority of listeners will find the guitar tone thick, crunchy and generally grizzly-like I consider it more like a fuzzy teddy bear. On low volume levels, I think it sounds scratchy and thin while on loud, obnoxious levels better reserved for Manowar, it sounds much better. Neither of the five songs really deserve such levels of volume however, rendering this reasoning somewhat invalid.
"Altar In Black" is a strong opener with enjoyable riffs and an infectious level of headbangability (HBA). Sweet solo near the end following some memorable rhythmic moments. With the following four songs all following in similar fashion and taking a conservative route in areas of songwriting, rhythmic architecture and melody usage, the EP loses steam (and HBA), exponentially decreasing in attractiveness. It's basically a reverse beer goggle syndrome; only with ears. Listen to any of these songs alone, and there really is not a whole lot of criticism but put all five together and the weaknesses are noticeable. Each song tries to hold its own but just doesn't. "Before The Cross" has an interesting drum section and "Forsaken Angel" has a chorus that might be fun to shout along with while drunk on whatever is trendy these days but little makes me interested in returning for an elongated residence.
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