When one listens to a lot of metal, there are certain things which becomes common. One is death and the other is evil. there maybe other things like motocycles, dragons, and Lovecraft in there but death and evil covers a wide base. If a band wanted to fill out their entire release with images of rot and decay, they could do so. A lot of bands have. This does not mean, however, it would be any good. Merely getting down the aesthetic is only part of the charm of good heavy metal. Coffinborn, from head to Hungarian toe, is about rot and decay. The band’s album cover, promo photography, and entire existence has been geared towards prying open a cement sarcophagus with a crowbar. It sure is a good thing the music is top notch otherwise this whole thing would be sort of silly.
What makes Coffinborn work is a combination of many things. The low vocals which hover between a growl and snarl, the razor edged guitar, and the furiously crisp percussion allows Beneath the Cemetery to become something special. Beneath the Cemetary becomes an EP where one can root for rot and decay and still have the time of their lives. While there is much discussion about newer death metal and its relation to the past, Coffinborn mutes all debate with a a wave of undead corpses streaming over wrought iron fences. There is no time for talk when Hell is overflowing. Whether or not it is the doom influence which stalks around the corners of the record or the power drill guitar solos, Beneath the Cemetery hits every note correctly and with the fury of unholy strength.
Before we go any further, I would like to point out that Coffinborn may still be silly but only in the most entertaining way. “Corpse Collector,” which closes the EP, sounds like a title from horror pulp. Actually all of the songs sound like titles to horror short fiction. The cover for Beneath the Cementary is shrouded in an illustration which looks like it was torn out of the pages of an old D&D rulebook. The whole atmosphere of Beneath the Cemetery promotes entertainment which is as dark as a slasher or monster film. This release is not terrifying in a convention sense but is electrifying in its execution. This is the type of attitude which carried so many great old school death metal bands on the leathery wings of bats. I have not had this much fun breathing the miasma of grave terror and yelling in triumph at the blackened sky in a long time.